Here are some photos from the opening Darley Moor meeting of 2020, taken by official Darley photographer Tony Else...
We'll start with some great news - following our recent announcement advising that we have reached 100 club race wins, we are now proud to announce that we have won a club race in each of the past four decades - 1990s, 2000s, 2010s & 2020s :-)
The planned Round 5 of the Darley Moor championship became the opening round of the non-championship 2020 Darley Moor season. In a COVID-friendly way we arrived and setup on Friday evening, next to fellow Northwich rider Tim Poole, before going for a track walk in the evening.
Saturday hosted a 6-session test day. Once out onto track we noticed that the new 180/60 profile rear tyre that was fit at the No Limits Oulton Park meeting had increased overall gearing by 2.86% compared to the former 180/55 profile tyre, so we added 1 tooth to the rear sprocket to reduce the gearing by 2.17% - this resulted in an overall 0.67% higher gearing than when we attended the Loose Cannon Darley Moor track day in July, but seemed to be OK. With three sessions completed and everything working as it should, we decided to park up the Supersport machine for the day.
After the lunch break we took the Supertwin out for a session. Apart from a minor adjustment to the front brake biting point, everything felt fine so we also parked that bike up for the day and then went through scruitineering/signon and prepared both bikes ready for the Sunday qualifying sessions.
On Saturday evening we went for another track walk and managed to catch some photos of the circuit looking quite pretty!
The arrival of race day brought a choice - with two bikes but only one GoPro camera available following the demise of a camera at Oulton Park. As we had more races on the Supertwin we decided to run the camera on that bike. As it happened, the more interesting footage would have been captured during the Formula 600 races - but my crystal ball let me down once again... ;-)
Our order of "on track action" for the day was: Supertwin, Supersport, Supertwin, Supersport, Supertwin, Supersport, Supertwin - so it couldn't be more varied! Out into the first qualifying session and we struggled to find a clear lap in the Twins session - but our best lap of 1'03.81 was enough to be fastest in class, albeit 5th on the combined starting grid. The Formula 600 qualifying went better but (for whatever reason) we weren't really feeling it and only managed to post a 59.92 - but this turned out to be good enough for 3rd place on the grid, which made us feel better.
Our first race of the weekend was also the first race of the day (and the year!) in the 10-lap Allcomers race. For this race the grid positions are pulled "out of a hat" and we managed to pull Pole Position for the opening race of the year, ahead of 17 other competitors - long may our good luck continue! ;-)
Following a good start, we moved into the race lead on the approach to Park corner on the opening lap and then just lapped as fast as we could - picking up the fastest lap of the race along the way. After 10 laps we won the race by 35.50 seconds and had lapped everyone up to 7th position.
The next race was Formula 600 Race 1, which directly followed the Kart race. Due to a kart being recovered we spent an extended amount of time in the assembly area before getting onto track. When the race started an unfortunate crash occurred at the Wilson's chicane involving Jason Wilkes and Jamie Horner which brought out the red flag. Jason was taken to hospital as he had a number of injuries - including a broken toe and fractured cheekbones. All of us at Two Daves Racing would like to wish Jason a quick recovery!
When the race was restarted, the sighting lap did not provide enough time for our tyres to warm properly, so we sacrificed the first two laps to ensure everything was back up to temperature before we started pushing on - unfortunately this meant that we dropped back to 6th position. On the last lap we tried to make up some positions but it was all too little too late. A last-corner, last-lap tussle with David Glossop saw us crossing the finishing line in exactly the same time - classifying us with a joint 5th place finish. One glimmer of hope was that we were one of only 3 racers that lapped in under a minute.
After a gap of just one race, we were back out on track in Twins Race 1. This was a fairly lonely race where we settled into a '5th place on track' position with some PreInjection 600 guys ahead of us. At the end of the 6-lap race there was a 7-second gap ahead of us and a 7-second gap behind us! We took the win and the fastest lap for the Twins class from Richard Hunt in 2nd and James Barnett in 3rd.
Once into the lunch break we had a visit from Dave Graham who dropped off some KitKat Chunky bars - which made the day even sweeter :-)
Out into the 8-lap Formula 600 Race 2 and we got involved in a group battle once more, which made it a struggled for us to put in clean laps. We retained our 5th place starting position for the first 4 laps, before moving passed Tim Walsh on lap 5 into 4th place, just behind Ben Rea. Following Ben Rea was tough as he's lighter and accelerated more quickly than us (ahem, I blame COVID lockdown for the additional ballast...), but on the last lap we made a decent enough exit from the hairpin that we were able to make a scruffy but successful pass at the last corner to cross the line in 3rd place!
Our final race of the day was Twins Race 2, where we were able to create a gap and then take a comfortable win by 14 seconds from Richard Hunt in 2nd, with Anthony Thane taking the final podium spot.
Unlike in 2019, this season trophies were given for the first races of the day - so we walked away with a couple of 1st place trophies. It has been a great return to Darley Moor!
Our next race meeting will also be our final race meeting of the 2020 season - at the two-day race meeting of Darley Moor Rounds 6 & 7 on Saturday/Sunday 10th-11th October 2020.
Two Daves Racing are proud to announce that we have reached the milestone of 100 Race Wins at club level! This tally of race wins has taken 25 years to achieve - via 11 club championships, with 4 different clubs, using 5 different bikes! The accumulation of race wins over time is demonstrated by the charts below.
Coming into the 2020 season we believed we had reached a total of 98 race wins, but some misplaced (and later recovered) result sheets from the 2017 season mean that we actually reached this milestone at the 2019 Darley Moor Round 6 meeting, with our first ever Formula 600 race win being our 100th race win - making that particular race win even more special!
To commemorate this occasion, we designed a one-off t-shirt - which will occasionally be worn around the paddock through the remainder of 2020 :-)
Shown below are the bikes that helped us to achieve this milestone.
We would sincerely like to thank EVERYBODY that has helped to made this milestone possible - but here are a few special mentions...
Dave Carson Snr - for introducing us to the fantastic sport of motorcycle racing
Steph Carson - for letting Dave Snr do it ;-)
Lorna Carson - for joining me on the journey
Nana Carson - for kind use of her garage when we restarted racing in 2008
Sam Pointon - for kind use of his driveway for caravan storage
Adam Heywood - for his help in securing product sponsorship
Michael Mulvaney - for his sponsorship that allowed us to build the team into what it is today
At long last, it was finally time for our first race meeting of the 2020 season! We last raced at Oulton Park over 6 years ago, despite living less than 30 minutes away from this great circuit.
Setting off with big smiles on our faces, it wasn't long before a series of issues was sent to test us - with caravan problems (overrun brake, fridge and water pump), a running generator not outputting any power (despite working perfectly when we put it away a few weeks ago) and a rare failure during scrutineering of the Kawasaki Supertwin.
A gentle drive to the circuit, the use of a coolbox and Dave Snr working his magic on the water pump worked around the caravan problems. Darley Moor regular Stuart Fitton came to the rescue with use of a generator for the weekend, as he had managed to secure the use of a garage. The scruitineering failure was due to a new No Limits club rule that we weren't aware of - whereby all engine cases required a secondary cover - and despite the fact that the Kawasaki Supertwin would need to wear through a crash bung, exhaust, footrest and fairing to get near the clutch cover - it was still deemed as necessary. We realised that the spare engine had one fitted, so a quick trip back to Two Daves Racing HQ had that final issue sorted. The weekend starts here...
Despite social distancing regulations, the meeting was a very social affair. Over the weekend we managed to catch up with Kyle Ryde, James Powell, Ian Morgan, Matt Waldron, James Ellison, Dijon Compton, Jed & Richard Fogg, Joel Cooper (who has supplied the majority of the fantastic riding photos used within this review) and we also introduced ourselves to some of the Northwich Bikers.
The Friday consisted of morning testing and afternoon qualifying. We took part in 3 test sessions on the Kawasaki ZX6R Supersport machine in sweltering conditions, and got faster every session. During the test sessions we finally migrated across to using our new RST new gloves. We closely monitored running temperatures following installation of the Kawasaki ZX6R Supersport lower radiator expansion, with the highest running temperature seen being 76 degrees. The Kawasaki Supertwin with it's own big radiator ran at a maximum of 82 degrees, so we're very happy with it's performance as other riders were seeing engine water temperatures in excess of 100 degrees this weekend.
The first qualifying session was for the Pirelli Super Series 600 class. Prior to the session we had set a personal goal to circulate under the 1'50 bracket - so a target had been set! When the assembly area gates opened, almost all of the 40 qualifiers rushed out at once. Not wanting to get stuck in traffic, we held back for around 20 seconds and then headed out onto track. We were able to complete 5 laps (4 flying laps) without barely coming across another rider and set a fastest lap of 1'50.327 which put us 20th place on the combined grid.
Out into the Supertwin qualifying session - which was the first time that the bike had been used this year - we only managed to put in 3 flying laps due to a red flag during the session. Not having ridden the Supertwin posed a challenge, even down to the simple things like "What gear should I be in for this corner?".
One lap when approaching the Hislop chicane, a rapid series of downshifts from 6th to 2nd gear locked up the rear wheel and overwhelmed the slipper clutch, causing the rear tyre to screech and slide from side-to-side. We eased off the brakes, got the bike pointing straight and then run across the grass at Hislops - rejoining close to Knickerbrook. A good learning experience! Our best lap time of 1'57.154 was enough to qualify 5th on the grid (4th in class), but our 'ideal lap' was shown as a 1'56.497 so there was still more to come.
On Friday evening we treated the Kawasaki ZX6R Supersport machine to a new dry rear tyre. After 150+ laps of the 2020 testing regime it was starting to feel a little worn, so a new one was fitted. The 150+ lap front tyre was still feeling good, so that carried on to fight another day! With the bikes cleaned and ready for Saturday race day, it was then time for a quick trip to the paddock bar.
We took part in the emergency Saturday morning practice session to scrub in the new rear tyre. To take part in the practice session you needed to collect a pass from the race office on the Saturday morning - it's been a while since I've seen so many people wandering around the paddock at 7am, as there must have been 60-70 people at the race office! During the morning session some riders were pushing very hard and two people had quite fast crashes, giving them a busy morning to prepare for the races ahead.
When we started 600 Race 1 it was madness through the first few corners, with a lot of bumping and barging. Being conservative, by the end of the opening lap we had been pushed back to 25th place. We got our head down, picked off a few people and at the end we finished 19th on track (13th in class), setting a new Personal Best lap time of 1'50.152 - good but not quite achieving our target.
We quickly headed into the paddock and switched bikes as we were straight out into Supertwin race. Going straight out had both good and bad elements - the bad was that we were a bit knackered but the good was that we were already up to speed after pushing 100% just a few minutes earlier. A good start meant that we maintained 5th place on the first lap, before moving up to 4th place by the end of lap 2. We put in a series of solid laps and eventually finished 4th on track (4th in class), with a new Personal Best lap time of 1'55.004 on the Supertwin.
Onto the second set of races, we realised that No Limits base the next starting grid based on fastest laps (rather than previous results), so we started 600 Race 2 from 24th on the grid. An OK start but tentative first lap saw us drop to 26th by the end of the opening lap, but a strong run of laps saw us catching and passing people to finished in 24th position on track (13th in class). We also set another new Personal Best lap time of 1'49.763 to meet our target!
Once again, we were straight out into Supertwin race - this time from 4th on the grid. After an initial great start, we pulled a wheelie so changed gear but found Neutral! After a quick shift into 2nd gear we found ourselves sinking backwards through the field. An attempt to go around the outside of the pack at the first corner was thwarted when we were pushed onto the rumble strips, and we headed towards Cascades in 7th or 8th position. We slowly fought our way through the pack, setting another new Personal Best lap time of 1'54.207 along the way. On lap 5 we caught 5th place and performed an 'around the outside at Cascades' move that impressed even ourselves, and we crossed the chequered flag in 4th place!
This was a fantastic and thouroughly enjoyable weekend. We walk away with a few things to fix, but both bikes are running great. Our next outing will be at Darley Moor Round 5 (including the test day) on Saturday/Sunday 12th-13th September.
With our first race meeting of 2020 now only a week away, we thought that it was time to provide you with a summary of recent news...
Kawasaki ER650 Supertwin
Over 8 months had passed since the Kawasaki Supertwin was cleaned and prepared for hibernation. When we tried to bring it back to life it refused to provide power to the fuel pump. After a lot of searching through wiring diagrams - not helped by the fact that there is very little 'stock' wiring on the machine due to the Programmable Ignitech ECU - we eventually tracked the problem down to a corroded Ford relay that was being used as the fuel pump relay. With that identified, a couple of new relays were ordered, a brand new Yuasa battery was fitted and the Supertwin fired back into life! Big thanks to Dave Snr for his help in resolving the issues!
Kawasaki ZX6R Supersport
As you may have previously read about, the Kawasaki Supersport has been fitted with a new lower radiator extension. In addition, a fresh bottle of Rock Oil has been fed to the engine and the front brakes have received some new Rock Oil racing brake fluid and a full set of EBC GPFAX pads.
Other than that, some minor bodywork repairs have been performed due to the Darley Moor trackday incident involving a rogue bollard.
Yamaha CG50 Jog
To top things off, the centre stand on our 1989 Yamaha Jog snapped during a leisurely ride around the Cheshire countryside. We managed to find a NOS (New Old Stock) replacement - so hopefully this will last a further 31 years! Within our spares collection we found another damaged centre stand, so this must be a weak spot of the Yamaha CG50 Jog!
No Limits Oulton Park - Timetable Released
The timetable for next weekend has now been released, with Friday being the Practice/Qualifying day and Saturday providing two races on each machine for us - but as the races are back-to-back, we will need to be on top form between the races to make sure we don't miss the start of the Supertwins races!
The timetable is shown below. If you attend the meeting, make sure to (socially distance) pop over and say "Hi" :-)
The Febur lower radiator extension first announced back in January 2019 has finally been installed on our Kawasaki Supersport machine, along with some shiny (and bright orange) 'kit-type' silicone hoses. The radiator extension was previously installed on a NP Motorcycles British Supersport machine, so we knew that fitment should be relatively straightforward.
The 'kit-type' water hose arrangement moves the oil filter cooler hoses into the main waterways - to reduce the water temperature circulating through that section. On the diagram below you can see the changes made.
Prior to fitting the radiator extension, we acquired a new (more sturdy) stone guard that matched the main radiator guard - this needed to be cut to shape, so a template was made to define our required dimensions and then cut out. Once the edges were lined we spaced the guard from the radiator using a combination of rubber pipe and cable ties.
The mounting fixtures were prepared, then painted and now look like new. With all of this 'shiny newness', the radiator water expansion bottle was looking decidedly dirty, so received a thorough cleaning! With everything assembled and mounted, here are some "before and after" photos! :-)
In the case that we ever decide to remove/disconnect the radiator extension (e.g. due to a water leak or the bike running too cold), we have acquired some straight pipe connectors to bypass the T-pieces so that only the main radiator is used - and importantly, mean that we can continue racing.
Our next outing will be with the No Limits club at Oulton Park on 14th/15th August 2020, so we will be closely monitoring running temperatures during that meeting. We'll let you know what difference the changes have made! :-)
David Carson Jnr,