Here are some photos from the fifth Darley Moor meeting of 2019, taken by official Darley photographer Tony Else...
We'll start with some fantastic news - we have managed to secure the 2019 Mini Sound of Thunder championship at Darley Moor Round 5 this weekend (with two race meetings to spare). We won this championship in the 2016 and 2017 seasons and are extremely happy to be crowned as champions once again!
Some more great news is that we have received some late-season assistance from Jason Sedgwick and from Sam Pointon, which will cover our tyre costs for the remainder of the season - many thanks guys!! :-)
Since the last meeting we had the front forks on the Kawasaki Supersport machine rebuilt (as one of the seals was starting to weep slightly), which gave us a great excuse to play around with suspension settings. Not content with making a single set of changes, we also made changes to the rear tyre pressures. Due to the Darley Moor point changes in 2019 (more details available here), there is a lot more scope to test changes within a meeting - as you can always revert to the previous "known" settings for the 'final' race if things don't work out.
A drop of 3psi in the rear tyre (to match BSB-spec pressures) made the initial throttle application a bit "squishy" for the rider's liking, but adding in just 1psi more removed that negative feeling - giving us our new baseline pressure moving forward! For the front fork settings, we changed to the default/recommended Ohlins settings, which didn't really feel much different - so we also stuck with those!
We also managed to have a "superstar" moment by signing a photo for Park-corner marshals (and Two Daves Racing supporters!) Kath and Andy - pictured below...
Leading up to the event, every weather forecaster predicted thunderstorms on the Sunday race day - but we managed a full day in dry conditions. In the Formula 600 class we qualified in 2nd place, and for the combined Lightweight and Mini Sound of Thunder grid we took pole position overall.
The first race of the day was the Formula 600 'qualifying' race. We failed to make the most from our 2nd place starting spot and entered the chicane in 4th position. For the first two laps we followed Stuart Bradbury - who was flying on his PreInjection 600 - and when Stuart made a mistake at the chicane on lap 3 we decided to make a move into 3rd place on track, then at the end of lap 3 we passed David Shallcross to move into 2nd place. For the rest of the race we tried to put in clean laps (the best of which was a 58.91) but the first man across the chequered flag was Rich Baker, 5.82 seconds later we crossed the line to finish in 2nd place, with David Shallcross taking third spot.
Our next 'qualifying' race was an entertaining one, as the Mini Sound of Thunder class was mixed with the Lightweight class - which gave us the chance to replicate previous battles that we had several years ago with Chris Moore, in the Formula Darley class.
From pole position we managed to enter the chicane in 4th position (which was quickly becoming the theme of the day!) and then we passed Chris Moore into Park corner on the opening lap to take 3rd position, then on the Pope straight we simultaneously passed Tony Griffiths and were passed by Chris Moore - retaining 3rd position at the end of the lap. Two corners later, we made a move passed Chris Moore again and then by the back esses Chris was back in front again - pointless in a way as we are in different classes but very entertaining nevertheless!
With Chris and us both moving passed Richard Hunt by the hairpin, it put us fighting for the overall race lead by the end of the second lap. On lap three, we took the lead with a move into Park corner and then on lap 6 Chris retook the lead - which he kept to the flag. We won our class, with Richard Hunt finishing in 2nd and Martin Robbins taking 3rd spot.
During the race, "Big Dave" was spectating at Park corner and managed to film us 'backing it in' slightly... :-)
After the lunch break it was time for the 'final' races. In the Formula 600 race we finally made a decent start and from 2nd on the grid were 2nd into the chicane - before the wheelie-prone Triumph 675 of Rich Baker came sliding passed us on the entry to Park corner. By the end of lap 2, Rich had taken the race lead and we were close to 2nd-placed David Shallcross.
On lap 4 we made a move passed David to take 2nd position - but David stayed glued to our rear wheel and on lap 7 made a slipstream move along the Pope straight to retake 2nd place, before we nipped back passed on the brakes. For the final three laps we pushed as hard as we could to put in some clean, fast laps (with a best of a 59.01) and managed to finish in 2nd place. Rich took the win and David finished just behind us in third place.
For the Mini Sound of Thunder 'final' race we had a clear, but conflicting, objective - to win the race as safely as possible... Some simple sums advised us that the points from a race win should be enough to clinch the championship - but it all depended upon who finished in second place!
To inform the rider a plan was devised... On the final corner of the final lap, if we had done enough to win the championship, then a bright orange umbrella would be raised high in the crowd. If you watch the video carefully you can just spot it around 10:49, which was the indication that we'd done enough :-)
We didn't make things easy for ourselves though, as getting sandwiched between Chris Moore and Tony Griffiths off the start line meant that by the time we exited Park corner on the opening lap we were running in 6th place on track. By the end of the opening lap we had moved up to 5th place, then by the end of lap 2 we were in 4th place, and on lap 3 we somehow pulled off a double-overtake into Park corner to take 2nd position on track (and to lead the Mini Sound of Thunder class). From there we managed to control our race and took the race win to win the championship!
On the cool-down lap we stopped at Park corner to celebrate with Andy, Kath and Jason - which was a great experience!
With two rounds of the championships now remaining (note: double-points are being awarded at the final round), we remain in 2nd place in the Formula 600 championship. With a lead of 52 points and a maximum of 46 points remaining, we cannot be beat in the Mini Sound of Thunder championship.
FORMULA 600 - TOP 5
Rich Baker 65
David Carson 46
David Shallcross 28
Matt Zschiesche 18
Zach Tansley 16
MINI SOUND OF THUNDER - TOP 5
David Carson 76
Richard Hunt 24
Richard Saville 22
Alistair Corr 18
Mike Gittings 16
Our next race meeting will be at Darley Moor Round 6 on 15th September. If anything happens in the meantime we'll keep you posted... :-)
David Carson Jnr,