Here are some photos from the second Darley Moor meeting of 2018, taken by official Darley photographer Tony Else...
With Dave Snr spending the weekend at the Spanish MotoGP round and Lorna recently giving birth to the team's newest member, Dave Jnr travelled to Darley Moor alone to setup our simplified paddock space and to get scrutineered and signed-on. After setting up, Dave Jnr walked the track with Joe Walton and Jason Wilkes to steal any 'fast lap secrets' that they were hiding.
After noise testing our Kawasaki Supertwin, we were out in the first two qualifying sessions of the day. Up first was the Mini Sound of Thunder qualifying session and as usual there was a lot of traffic to contend with. We managed to find a clear lap and qualified in 5th place, before ending the session early so we could take our Kawasaki Supersport for noise testing and then straight onto track - where we qualified in 9th position for the Formula 600 race.
Our first race of the day was the 10-lap Allcomers (up to 650cc) race. Grid positions were picked out of the hat and we 'chose averagely' to start from 9th place on the grid - but the random nature of the grid selection actually meant that most of the front row of the grid was empty - as no-one selected them!
A good start put us into 2nd position at the first chicane, directly behind Simon Edmondson. Into the final corner on the opening lap we made a move and took the lead. Putting in a series of good laps, we managed to post the fastest lap of the race and then won the race by 6.78 seconds at the chequered flag.
Behind us, Jason Wilkes was running in 2nd place until he crashed at Park corner on lap 4. At the flag, MCN senior road tester Adam Child finished in 2nd place, with Simon Edmondson 23.63 seconds behind and taking the final podium position.
As you can see on the video below (at 5:04) the front-facing camera decided to break during the race! This provided an interesting and alternative view of the race which I left in for a couple of minutes. But for those of you with sea-sickness, you'll be glad to hear that by 7:03 I revert to the rear camera view only :-)
The next race was the Peak Cup, which we used for some extra practice on the Kawasaki Supersport machine. Like at the previous event, we got stuck in battles with some of the slower 1000cc riders again, so the race was a bit frustrating but we felt that we were riding well.
After a short break, we headed out for the Formula 600 race. Straight away we felt good and dropped to lap times that were close to our Personal Best on the bike. At the end of the opening lap we were in 11th place, then we managed to pass a couple of our competitors to finish the race in 9th position (out of 28 finishers) which is our best finish so far. Our fastest lap of 1'00.76 was posted on the final lap, which is slightly slower than our 1'00.60 Personal Best time that was set at the previous event.
The fourth race of the day was the Mini Sound of Thunder race, which was combined on the grid with the PreInjection up to 1300cc class. Starting the race from 14th position on the combined grid, we had a messy start. A missed downshift at the hairpin on the opening lap meant for a slow start to the race and we crossed the line in 4th position (in class) at the end of the opening lap, which was 1.15 seconds behind Rich Stubbs in 3rd place.
The pace of the race seemed to be really slow and we bridged the gap to 3rd place easily within half a lap. At the end of lap 2, our class leader was only 3 seconds ahead of us and we knew we could go 1.5 seconds per lap quicker, so tried to get our head down and see whether we could catch up. But on lap 3, the race was red flagged after Rich Stubbs and Darren Spruce tangled entering Townleys corner. The crash looked quite serious and we hope that both of them will make a full recovery soon!
Darren was airlifted to hospital whilst Rich was taken to a different hospital by road. After a lengthy delay, the organisers decided not to re-run the race and the race result was called after 3 laps. Elliott Williams was declared the winner, with Adam Child in 2nd and we were awarded 3rd place.
Due to the Mini Sound of Thunder stoppage delay (along with a number of delays through the day), the organisers took the decision to abandon the meeting after the first half of the race calendar had been completed.
In 2018 so far there have been many positives - a race win on the Kawasaki Supertwin, continually improving results on the Kawasaki Supertsport & some good (but not great) lap times being posted. After looking at the datalogging, it appears that part of the missing time is due to weather/machine performance and part of the missing time is due to carrying lower speed through the chicanes - something to focus on at the next meeting!
We have a bit of a break now, due to the Isle of Man TT, but our next race event will be at Darley Moor Round 3 on Sunday 17th June - where hopefully we can get back into consistent podium positions on the Kawasaki Supertwin and hopefully we can finally score some championship points on the Kawasaki Supersport machine (which will require a top 6 finish).
David Carson Jnr,