We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
On Saturday 11th November the awards presentation evening for the 2023 NG Road Racing club championships took place. The room was packed with 240+ attendees (into a room designed for 200) and it was a fantastic evening that everyone enjoyed.
On the run up to the evening we took advantage of access to the hotel swimming pool, sauna and steam room. Then on our arrival to the ballroom we found our 3rd placed championship trophy waiting for us.
The guest host for the evening was newly-crowned British Superbike champion Tommy Bridewell, who gave an interesting and entertaining speech prior to handing out awards to each class champion.
With celebrations carrying on into the early hours of the Sunday morning, a bit of recovery time was required - which is why this update is later than it probably should have been... ;-)
Winter preparations for both machines have been completed and both machines (in their current spec) will be used again in 2024. But before we can think too much about the 2024 season, we still have the Darley Moor Awards Presentation evening to attend in January 2024.
We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Here is another photo from the final round of the Darley Moor championships, taken by the talented Kevin Gunstone. His photos from the meeting are available here.
Now that the season has come to a close, we have been able to take a look back at the 2023 season and to summarise the achievements that have been made in our most successful season ever!
We will start by highlighting the final championship results, which were:
These fantastic achievements mean that we have now earned 29 "end of year" trophies (which includes 16 club championship trophies) from five different organisations:
During the year we added to our tally of race wins, adding another 22 wins to reach a new total of 161 club race wins throughout our entire career!
Drilling down into the statistics a bit further - during the 2023 season we:
Throughout the season we also managed to break some race records (as well as our personal records - more on those later!):
Other stats/highlights for the 2023 season:
Taking a look back to our pre-season goals, we advised that "the stopwatch will be the gauge of our success". This is how we have performed:
Thanks for your support!
We have had a fantastic time this season (both on and off track) and are looking forward to racing again in the 2024 season!
Since this website went live at the start of 2013, we are proud to announce that we have received a fantastic 143,466 page views from 54,662 web sessions (by 40,805 unique visitors). The figures for our YouTube channel are just as impressive with 76,500+ video views (covering 156,000+ minutes) for the 444 videos we have uploaded - which is even more impressive considering that since 2015 our Darley Moor onboard race videos have only been accessible directly via our race reports!
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 & I would particularly like to thank Pomerol Partners, Palletways and Rock Oil for their support.
Here are some photos from the final rounds of the Darley Moor championships, taken by official Darley photographer Tony Else...
It was time for another of our season highlights - it was "Stars at Darley" weekend! We were honoured to be invited to be part of the 'main event' for the fifth time in our lengthy career and the weather forecast for the weekend looked fantastic! Taking part in the "Stars" races meant that we had 14 planned races (21 sessions on track including practice/qualifying) over the weekend, but it's nice to be "part of the show" so we didn't mind too much.
On the Thursday before the meeting we attended the wedding celebrations of former Darley-regular Stuart Hall (congratulations to you and Zoe!) and decided to take a half-day off work on the Friday afternoon, which allowed us to setup in our usual spot in what became a very busy paddock.
Saturday - Round 6
We were the first out on track, with the Formula 600 and Darley Cup qualifying session opening the weekend action. There was a lot of traffic and we struggled to get in a clear lap which resulted in a best lap time of 1'01.23 which put us 6th on each grid.
After a short break we went out into the Stars Untimed session, which was red-flagged early after Chris Stuart took avoiding action into Townleys and unfortunately crashed. After the session restarted we managed to improve our time down to a 59.16 - which put us 8th fastest (of 21 riders) in this session full of superstars! Being this high up in the timesheets was unlikely to persist - but it was nice to shine brightly, even if just for a little while... :-)
We then got to take the Aprilia for a spin in the Twins qualifying session. During the session we experienced unusual behaviour from the bike - it felt like it had blown up - but after coasting to a stop and finding the engine still running, we checked that the chain hadn't broken, then checked that we hadn't broken any gears before setting off again. You can see this moment in the video below. Once we were going again, we needed to validate that the bike was OK so pushed hard for a lap time and put in a 1'00.72 which was good enough for pole position. The bike ran fine during the remainder of the session, so it was deemed ready to race.
Our final qualifying session was the big one - the Stars at Darley qualifying session. We headed out a registered a number of laps very close to each other, with the best being a 58.88. This qualified us 17th on the Stars grid. A couple of riders unfortunately did not manage to meet the 115% qualifying criteria so were not allowed to race, which reduced the starting grid to 19 riders.
It was now time for the first of our races - Darley Cup Race 1. With all of the track action planned for the weekend, our approach was to try and conserve our energy for the Stars and afternoon Points races. A good start saw us enter the Wilsons chicane in 3rd place and we moved passed Adam Green into Park corner on the opening lap to take 2nd place behind Stars-rider Grant Thomson. Putting in laps as quick as 58.74 we kept 2nd-place until the chequered flag, finishing 2.97 behind the heat-race winner.
After a quick swap of bikes we went out into Twins Race 1. A relatively poor start saw us enter the Wilsons chicane in 5th position on the combined grid (2nd in class) but we soon moved up to 4th place and were with the leading trio. Then on lap 2 we started to experience "Italian electronic issues" with the bikes Traction Control intermittently kicking in. After a few laps this turned into an alarm displayed on the dashboard (previously seen at Castle Combe) advising that the Traction Control was disabled.
Despite the message, forward drive was still being impeded, but after fiddling around with the handlebar buttons we managed to fully deactivate it. With the time spent resolving the issue we were unable to challenge for the win - despite setting the fastest lap of 1'00.64 - and finished in 2nd place behind ManxGP podium finisher Dan Ingham.
The last of our heat races was Formula 600 Race 1. An OK start saw us retain our starting position into the chicane, before moving passed Chris Stuart at the end of lap 2 to take 5th position. From here we caught up to the trio of Adam Green, Mark Goodings and Jack Worth - but after being unable to find a clean way through decided to settle for a 5th place grid spot for the Points race.
It was time for the big event - Stars at Darley Race 1. The race began and was red-flagged after a couple of laps due to a crash between Daniel Stubbs and Josh Owens. Unfortunately both sustained injuries and went to hospital - we wish them all the best with their recoveries! There was a lengthy delay whilst the air ambulance arrived but eventually the organisers decided to re-run the race.
From the second start (shown in the video below) there developed a battle for the final three finishing positions between 1000cc-mounted David Glossop, 600cc-mounted multiple-British-champion (and one of our competitors from back in the 1990s) Steve Brogan and ourselves. At the chequered flag just 0.79 of a second covered our trio, with us being classified in 14th place.
Due to the lengthy delays the organisers decided that there was no option but to cancel the remainder of the day's races. Unusually, points and trophies were awarded based on the earlier heat races - which worked both for and against us - but it was one of few options available.
After prepping the bikes for Sunday and charging the laptimes/cameras, we got cleaned up and headed to the onsite disco - before retiring to bed early for some much-needed rest.
Sunday - Round 7
Once again we were first out on track with the Formula 600 and Darley Cup qualifying session. There was a lot of traffic again but we managed to get one clean-ish lap of 1'00.57 which qualified us 4th on the Darley Cup grid and 6th on the Formula 600 grid.
We decided to use the Stars Free Practice session to get further up to speed and reduced our lap time to a 59.16, which was much more "in the ballpark".
In the Twins qualifying we continued to push and set a 1:00.26 lap time that set pole position and gave us encouragement for the day ahead.
New for 2023, the top-7 "Stars at Darley" competitors then took part in a Superpole session - where each rider gets the track to themselves and has just one lap to set their qualifying time. It was a great spectacle and hinted that pole-sitter (and Stars Race 1 winner) Charlie Nesbitt might just set a new outright lap record today...
Darley Cup Race 1 was our first race of the day. A decent start saw us keep our starting position into the chicane, before a mistake by Stuart Bradbury gifted us 3rd position on the exit of Park corner on lap 2 and we passed Joe Holdworth on the brakes into Paddock corner at the end of lap 2. By this point race-leader Grant Thomson was over 5 seconds down the road, so with only 4 laps remaining he was uncatchable. We set our fastest lap of the weekend (58.67) and secured our 2nd place finish.
After a very short break, we were back out again in Twins Race 1. After an appalling start, we overtook people on every lap until eventually taking the overall race lead on lap 4. Into some clear air, we then pressed on further - setting a 59.85 lap on the penultimate lap and then being even faster on the final lap.
Our onboard laptimer showed that we were on for a possible new Personal Best lap time, but coming out of the final corner we had a rear wheel slide that the data shows cost us 0.18 of a second - across the line it turned out that we had equalled our Personal Best lap time to the hundredth of a second with a 59.77 lap... Still, we were happy to take the win!
Onto Formula 600 Race 1 and another appalling start saw us drop to 9th position into the chicane on the opening lap. Knowing what had happened with championship points the previous day we didn't want to settle for a lowly finish, so tried our best to move forward. We made a couple of places on the opening lap, and were up to 5th position by the start of the final lap. On the approach to Paddock corner on the final lap we saw our opportunity and moved up to 3rd place on the brakes, made all the more interesting by the appearance of a backmarker at that crucial moment. A clean run to the line saw us finish in 3rd place - with the 5-rider 3rd-7th group split at the line by just 0.67 of a second!
It was time for the main event once again - with Stars at Darley Race 2. This was an entertaining race between ourselves and Will Burchell on his 1000cc BMW machine - where there was plenty of overtaking action! We finished the race in 12th position and were classified in 13th position on the aggregated race results. At the front of the field Charlie Nesbitt was the clear victor with an average race speed in excess of 100mph. As the cherry on top of his victory, he also managed to take 9 seconds off the previous race record as well as setting a new outright Darley Moor lap record of 52.31.
In Darley Cup Race 2 we finally got a great start, then moved into 2nd position into Park corner on the opening lap. From there we put in consistent fast laps to retain 2nd place to the flag. Coming across the line we could finally celebrate that we had won the 2023 Darley Cup championship!
After a short break we were out in Twins Race 2, which was red-flagged on the opening lap due to a crash near the starting grid. After some clean-up work on spilled oil directly in front of our grid spot, the race was restarted. It was probably a good job that the cleaned spot was off the racing line as when we ran over it the rear wheel span and lost us drive on the way to the first corner. After spending a couple of laps chasing the leading trio down (1 rider in Twins & 2 in PreElectronic 600) we were in contention once again - despite taking a bit of grass on lap 5 at the Wilsons chicane - but as the leading Twin rider had now moved to the front of the group we thought it was time to try and make our way through too.
But then at the hairpin on lap 5, one of the PreElectronic racers took an optimistic dive for their class lead and knocked backmarker Dave Graham off his bike. As little to no regards was being shown by this rider, we decided to focus on the job in hand and brought the bike home in 2nd place in class - and were able to celebrate that we had won the 2023 Twins championship!
With two championships wrapped up we then got prepared for our final race of the season - and the opportunity to secure another championship. But with "slightly used" tyres fitted (231 laps on the front tyre and 127 laps on the rear tyre) we were hoping they'd last the distance. Unfortunately the race was never to be, due to an oil spill by a sidecar causing the cancellation of the remainder of the meeting. Just like the previous day, points were awarded based on the earlier heat race.
At the end of the season, the points tables look as follows. We think that winning two championship and finishing 2nd in another is a fabulous result, so we're not too disappointed!
Darley Cup - Final Championship Standings (Top 5)
1st: David Carson 84
2nd: Adam Green 57
3rd: Stephen England 52
4th: Matthew Rostron 35
5th: Grant Thomson 30
700cc Twins - Final Championship Standings (Top 5)
1st: David Carson 84
2nd: Ben Wilkinson 56
3rd: Anthony Thane 37
4th: Daniel Ingham 30
5th: Andy Whale 24
Formula 600 - Final Championship Standings (Top 5)
1st: Mark Goodings 64
2nd: David Carson 55
3rd: Jack Worth 43
4th: Adam Green 40
5th: Matthew Rostron 36
With the season now finished, we will gather together some stats regarding the season to produce another "Season Summary" blog.
But in the meantime we would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our supporters (if you're reading this - then that's you!), Dave Carson Snr, Steph Carson, Lorna Carson & I would particularly like to thank Pomerol Partners, Palletways and Rock Oil for their support. Thank you all for making 2023 another very special year! :-)
Here are some more photos from the fifth round of the Darley Moor championships, taken by the talented Kevin Gunstone. His photos from the meeting are available here.
David Carson Jnr,