After returning from a (much needed) family holiday, we spent around 8 hours preparing our Kawasaki ER650 Supertwin for the final meeting of our 2017 season - the prestigious "Stars at Darley" meeting.
We headed to Darley Moor on the Friday afternoon and set-up in the "stars paddock". We did not plan to ride until the Sunday but wanted to spectate the "stars" on their Saturday test sessions (just like we planned last year before trouble struck). This year we managed to enjoy some spectating for a change and it was interesting to watch how some of Britain's fastest racers tackled the Darley Moor circuit. Unfortunately a continuous light rain drizzle put a dampener on any lap record speeds.
We circulated faster and faster until the notorious "Dunlop speed wobble" made an appearance. We thought that we had logged a laptime that was "in the ballpark" so pulled in with a couple of minutes remaining. On the last lap of the session a CB500 created a half-kilometer-long oil spill from the exit of the hairpin down to Paddock corner. Our qualifying time put us in 3rd position (0.03 of a second behind Stuart Hall and 0.10 of a second ahead of Jason Wilkes), with Joe Walton taking the pole. The CB500 oil spillage would take two hours to clean up, causing massive delays and shortening the planned 15-lap races down to only 10-laps each.
Similar to the situation at Round 5, we crossed the chequered flag behind Ross Richards on his Spondon-framed ER6. With Ross' machine not being eligible for the Formula Darley class, we took the win from Jason Wilkes in second place, with Stuart Hall coming home in third place. The unfortunate scenario of Joe Walton not scoring any points with Jason Wilkes taking 24 points for his second place finish meant that Jason Wilkes finishes the season 2nd overall in the Formula Darley championship. Congratulations Jason!
After a lengthy delay to clean up some spilled fluids, the race got underway. A good initial launch was soon halted by a rider directly in front of us who had a poor start. By the time we exited the first chicane we had dropped to 5th place in class. We pushed hard and by the end of lap two we had moved up to 4th in class by passing Martin Robbins, and then on lap four we managed to pass both Jason Wilkes and Joe Walton to take 2nd in class. Once in 2nd place, Joe Walton kept us honest and was never further than a second behind our rear wheel. We manage to keep 2nd place until the flag and finished just 0.13 of a second ahead of Joe Walton - which was enough to win the Mini Sound of Thunder championship.
Ross Richards won the race and in the process catapulted himself to third place in the Mini Sound of Thunder championship standings and Joe's fine finish to the season means that he has secured 2nd place in the Mini Sound of Thunder championship standings.
FORMULA DARLEY - TOP 5
David Carson 119
Jason Wilkes 48
Joe Walton 43
Chris Moore 38
Stuart Hall 24
MINI SOUND OF THUNDER - TOP 5
David Carson 93
Joe Walton 75
Ross Richards 54
Jason Wilkes 41
Jack Petrie 29
Our championship successes this season mean that we have now won 10 club championships (5 on Aprilia RS152SP and 5 on Kawasaki ER650 Supertwin) across 4 different clubs (Auto 66, Wirral 100, NGRRC and Darley Moor). And that, most importantly, we get to attend the fabulous Darley Moor Awards Ceremony on Saturday 3rd February 2018.
* 2017 Darley Moor "Formula Darley" Club Champion
* 2017 Darley Moor "Mini Sound of Thunder" Club Champion
* 0.27 of a second knocked off our Darley Moor personal best lap (now a 1'01.22)
* Winner of the Stars at Darley "Best Turned Out Bike" award
And last but not least I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of my supporters (if you're reading this - then that's you!), Dave Carson Snr, Steph Carson, Lorna Carson, Tim Poole of the Poole Performance Centre & I would particularly like to thank Michael Mulvaney from Proficient Security and Pomerol Partners for their continued support.