Unfortunately, tragedy struck Stuart Hall in the test day when he slipped off the 'loaned' RV Racing SV650 at Townleys corner - but rider fortunately walked away unharmed.
With the arrival of the Sunday race day, we thought it would be good to officially clarify our aims for the 2019 race season, which are:
* To finish the Formula 600 championship in 7th place or better at the end of the season (we finished 8th in 2018)
* Be able to complete 9 laps of Darley Moor before the "Stars" complete 10 laps! We intend to enter the prestigious "Stars at Darley" race again and do not want to potentially interfere with the race result - so want to be able to complete the 10-lap races without being lapped.
Our first qualifying session of the season was for the Mini Sound of Thunder class. Despite the dry weather the air and track were very cold. After getting into the swing of things we managed to qualify 2nd in class (4th on combined grid). Towards the end of the session we witnessed a crash directly in front us, where Paul Fletcher had several attempts at highsiding his Kawasaki ZX10R before eventually bike-surfing it to a standstill - epic skills indeed!
For the 2019 season, the way that Darley Moor championship points are awarded has changed. With exception of a bonus point that is awarded to the winner of the "qualifying race", all points (and trophies) are awarded in the second race of the day - the "points race" where points go down to 10th position with the following allocations: 15,12,10,8,6,5,4,3,2,1 (note: double points are awarded at the season finale)
The first race of the day was the Mini Sound of Thunder 'qualifying' race. As soon as the final call was announced over the paddock tannoy we headed to the assembly area, but due to a number of machine recoveries from the previous race, we were left in the assembly area for more than 10 minutes.
Due to the delays Daley Mathison (who was back in attendance and just like at the 2015 Stars meeting was very quick in every class he entered) and his team took the opportunity to refit tyre warmers in the assembly area to curb the heat loss from the tyres. Without that ability ourselves, we decided to spend the first few laps of the 6-lap race ensuring that our tyres were warm before we started pressing on. We managed to have a few battles with some PI600 riders and finished 2nd in class (7th overall) which would put us 7th on the grid for the points race.
It was now time for the races that mattered - the points races! Mini Sound of Thunder was the first up and we got a good start and once again had some battles with the PI600 riders. It was an interesting race and we managed to go a bit faster (into the 1'02s) and eventually finished the race 2nd in class. Daley Mathison took the class win by over 19 seconds, with third-placed Richard Saville a further 20-seconds behind us. Birthday-boy Mike Gittings took 4th place in the race.
* We currently stand 2nd in the Mini Sound of Thunder championship
* We currently stand 5th in the Formula 600 championship