Here are some photos from the recent rounds of the Darley Moor championships, taken by official Darley photographer Tony Else...
After the rare occurrence of missing a Darley Moor race meeting (due to the clash with the NG Pembrey meeting), we were once again present for the two-day meeting which would be run as two separate events. We were advised prior to the event that there would be no scrutineering taking place on the Friday evening, so had a leisurely drive down. When we arrived we discovered that it was unexpectedly open, so quickly unpacked what we could and took the bikes down to be checked - but didn't have time for clothing checks and sign-on, so that would need to wait until the Saturday morning.
Round 4 (Saturday)
We woke to a wet paddock but the circuit dried well. In the Formula 600 qualifying there were damp patches on the Pope straight (and off-line in some corners) but our dry tyres were the correct choice. We qualified in 3rd place. Two sessions later it was time for the Twins qualifying session - by this time the track was completely dry and didn't see any rain for the rest of the day. We managed to set pole position.
As usual the first race of the day was the Allcomers race. Out-of-the-hat we picked 9th position on the grid, with fellow Aprilia RS660 riders Andy Whale and Ian Robinson starting from 5th and 2nd positions respectively. We had a good start and managed to move up to 5th position by the first chicane, and then nipped passed Connor Woodman on his CB500 to move up to 4th position at Park corner.
At the end of the Pope straight on the opening lap, the leading pack hit the brakes a little earlier than we expected, so we threw on the anchors and made some unexpected overtakes. Everything seemed under control until we shifted down to 2nd gear and the rear tyre broke loose, so we then stood up the bike, ran wide, put our hand up to apologise... Then, with hand still in the air, the bike wheelied and it was all a bit of a mess! We recomposed ourselves and looked for a clean opportunity to make further passes. On lap 4, Ian Robinson ran wide exiting the Wilsons chicane and Andy Whale went for a move - we then went for a move on Andy and managed to do a 2-for-1 manoeuvre to take the lead. From here we put in a series of clean laps and to win the race! As a bonus, we also managed to set a new race record for the Allcomers class which had stood since 2018.
Next up was Formula 600 Race 1. Starting from 3rd on the grid, we got an acceptable start and entered the chicane in 4th position, before moving up to 3rd position on the exit of Park corner when James Ford ran wide. We then chased down BSB Stock 600 rider Jake Hopper - gaining a bit, then making a mistake and losing a bit - before putting ourselves in a position to make a move at Park corner on lap 8. We managed to keep our position to the flag and finished in 2nd place, taking the fastest lap of the race with a 58.18 lap time.
For Twins Race 1 we started from pole position and entered the chicane in 3rd place. At the hairpin on the opening lap we managed to pass Lightweight rider Peter Fell to move up to 2nd on track behind Ian Robinson. At the end of the second lap we managed to sneak passed Ian (crossing the line just 0.03 apart) and then put in a series of laps in the 1'01s to create a bit of a gap. We took the win and fastest lap!
After a hectic morning it was nice to see the lunch break and have a little rest! When action resumed it was time for Formula 600 Race 2. A decent start saw us enter the chicane in 3rd position, before moving into 2nd position at Park corner. From there it was a case of watching Ben Dale slowly extend his lead until the chequered flag was shown. Ben took the win, we finished in 2nd position and Joe Yeardsley took the final podium spot.
The final race of the day was Twins Race 2. Once again we were 3rd into the chicane, behind Eddy Wormald and Ian Robinson. Along the Pope straight on lap 2 we used the mighty power of the Aprilia to move passed Eddy, then set our sights on Ian. We had a nice little dice with Ian which continued until he ran a little deep into the Wilsons chicane on lap 5 which allowed us through. From here we put in clean laps and even did a couple in the 1'00 bracket. We took the win and the fastest lap.
With racing done for the day we focused on preparations for the Sunday - we downloaded and processed some videos, charged electronics and cleaned/prepped bikes ready for the morning qualifying sessions. We then went for a track walk with Daniel Nurrish - who was questioning about our braking marker for Paddock corner - we advised him (as well as some others earlier in the day) that there was some grass/foliage that was ideally placed as a braking marker reference, so took pride in showing this during the walk :-)
Round 5 (Sunday)
We decided to make a couple of changes to the Aprilia RS660 Trofeo on Sunday morning - we flipped the Metzeler TD slick rear tyre to even out the tyre wear & changed from a 46T to 43T rear sprocket (note: those are the only rear sprockets we have - 44T and 45T are on order!). The 43T rear sprocket makes the RS660 overgeared for Darley Moor, but the data was showing us that the 46T sprocket didn't give us the gains that we expected - so as our Personal Best lap was set using the 43T sprocket, we thought there wasn't much to lose in swapping it over and seeing how it felt.
Prior to the qualifying sessions (and at points through the day) some unforecast light rain fell - fortunately, it was never heavy enough to necessitate a switch to wet tyres.
In qualifying we set some good laps and qualified 3rd on the Formula 600 grid and took pole position in the Twins class - with a Twins lap time quicker than any lap we set on the Saturday.
For the Allcomers race we selected 17th on grid and had to deal with the heavy traffic that that sort of grid position provides. When the lights went out for the start, the CB500s of Daniel Hill and Luke Watson came together and started bashing elbows! Riders flooded passed us and by the time we entered the chicane we didn't know what position we had ended up in! On the opening lap we passed about half a dozen riders and were 5.35 seconds behind the leader at the end of lap 1. By the end of lap two we had moved up to 4th position.
Some "mental rain" fell which we did our best to ignore and after closing down the gap, we managed to move from 4th position to being the race leader during lap 5... We managed to sneak passed Ian Robinson into the Wilsons chicane to take 3rd position and then had a good run through the back esses where we approached Andy Whale and Eddy Wormald. Eddy was making a move up the inside, so we decided to try the long way around and managed to overtake the leading pair around the outside at the hairpin. From there we managed to take the win as well as set the fastest lap.
Next up was Formula 600 Race 1. A good start saw us enter the chicane 2nd in class (3rd on track), before moving up to 2nd on track into the back esses on the opening lap. We tried to stick with leader Ben Dale but after 4 laps were feeling tired. A quick look behind out of Park corner saw Jake Hopper glued to our rear wheel... So we dug in and managed to put laps in 58-second bracket for 7 of the 10 laps.
A well-timed backmarker overtake on the penultimate lap gave us a bit of breathing space for the final lap. Ben Dale took the win, we took 2nd place 3.76 seconds behind, with Jake crossing the line just 0.17 of a second behind us - after he set a 57.99 'fastest lap of the race' on his final lap.
In Twins Race 1, we managed to take the class lead into the chicane and take the overall lead into Park corner on the opening lap. We managed to build up a lead of over 20 seconds by the chequered flag, taking the race win and fastest lap in the process.
One unusual point of interest was that on lap 8, at the exit of Park corner, a couple of birds were sat on the racing line - as we approached they flew off in various directions (see 7:40 in the video). The race for 2nd place was apparently a cracking battle between Ian Robinson and Eddy Wormald which ran until the last corner of the last lap. We're not sure exactly what happened, but unfortunately Ian came off his Aprilia and decided to withdraw from the remainder of the meeting to focus on preparations for the NG Cadwell Park meeting this coming weekend.
With the arrival of the lunch break came the arrival of the news that the afternoon races would be increased from 10 to 12 laps, as there was plenty of time available.
For the final Formula 600 race of the weekend we got a truly awful start. By the end of the opening lap we had managed to move back up to 3rd position and by mid-race we had caught up to Jake Hopper, but unfortunately just didn't have the extra speed to enable a passing opportunity. Once backmarkers came into play we lost a bit of time and settled for our result. At the end of the 12 laps, Ben Dale took the win by 3.22 seconds from Jake, and we took 3rd place a further 2.91 seconds back.
The final race of the weekend was Twins Race 2. We were held at the lights for a long time, but got a decent start and drove passed the SV650 of Eddy Wormald to take the lead on the approach to the back esses on the opening lap. From here we were relaxed and pushed at a hard but comfortable pace.
The pace was strong and we actually completed the first 10 laps almost 6 seconds quicker than our new 10-lap Allcomers race record! At the end of the 12 laps we took the win by 33.74 seconds to finish off what had been a fantastic weekend of racing!
After 5 (of 8 rounds) of the Darley Moor championships, the standings look as follows:
Twins Championship Standings (Top 5)
1st - David Carson 60
2nd - Patrick Lord 26
3rd - Ian Robinson 24
4th - Ben Wilkinson 23
5th - Chris Barton 22
5th - Eddy Wormald 22
Formula 600 Championship Standings (Top 5)
1st - Ben Dale 61
2nd - David Carson 40
3rd - Richard Cooper 30
4th - Albert Walker 22
5th - Jake Hopper 20
Our next race meeting will be this coming weekend at NG Cadwell Park on 9th/10th July, so we have a busy week of preparation ahead. Following Cadwell we have a break in our schedule of 5 clear weekends until NG Castle Combe in late August - so we'll have a chance for a rest then!
On Friday 24th June 2022, the rescheduled awards presentation evening for the 2021 Darley Moor club championships took place. As usual, the room was packed with attendees and it was a fantastic evening that everyone enjoyed.
A special gift photo (from Tony Else) was waiting for us on the table when we arrived. Having finished championship runner-up in both the Formula 600 and Twins championships in 2021, we were called up twice to collect trophies from Miles Brough and Don Ryder.
With celebrations carrying on beyond 4am on the Saturday morning, a bit of recovery time was required over the weekend... There isn't too much time to rest though - as this coming weekend hosts a 2-day meeting at Darley Moor, with the NG Cadwell Park meeting taking place the following weekend!
After these upcoming meetings we will then have a lengthy break until late August - when there will only be two weekends of racing left at each club! The season is flying by... :-o
Here are some photos from the Pembrey round of the NG Road Racing championships, taken by official photographer Colin Hill...
After a leisurely 5 hour drive, we arrived at Pembrey for event 4 of the NG Road Racing championships. We had not visited Pembrey since 2014 and due to work commitments could not partake in the Friday test day. Due to a calendar clash, attending this meeting meant that we would be missing Darley Moor Round 3 - the first Darley Moor round that we had voluntarily missed since March 2009!
Arriving into a full paddock we managed to setup on the grass nearby to the toilets, bar and viewing spots - it turned out to be a nice location which we would happily repeat if we return in the future. After the usual bout of scrutineering and signing-on, we took part in a track walk and visited the paddock Formula One pub for some refreshments.
On Saturday morning we rose fresh and early, and as we were ready for practice (and the sun was shining brightly) we took a walk around the paddock to scope out where everything was and managed to find fellow Supertwin competitor Steve Moody for a friendly chat. We were in the 9am opening practice session on the RS660 Trofeo (on some brand new slicks) and at 08:58 it started to spit with rain. We continued to the assembly area but by the time we had got out on track the track surface was completely wet, so we headed back to the paddock without completing a single lap!
We were due out in session 4 on the Supersport machine, so hastily swapped the ZX6R front wheel to a wet tyre and then nipped to the race office to see whether we could get out in another session on the Supertwin - fortunately they gave us a pass for session 5. On our walk back to base, the sun came out strongly and everything started to dry! So we popped the dry front tyre back into the ZX6R...
Our Personal Best lap time on the ER650 Supertwin was a 1:05.9. After completing the practice sessions we had put in a 1:06.6 on the ZX6R and a 1:07.1 on the RS660 Trofeo, and were becoming more familiar with the circuit layout and gears to use at each corner.
Qualifying sessions were up next - and 20 mins before our session another rain shower arrived! We left the dry tyres in - which turned out to be the right choice - and qualified in 13th place on the Open 600 grid with a 1:03.5, followed by setting pole position (3rd on the combined grid) in the Supertwins class with a 1:03.2.
During the lunch break, Lorna and the girls arrived at the circuit - ready to watch the first round of races for the weekend!
Our first race was Open 600 Race 1. We got a good start but were conservative into the tight first corner, but kept our 13th position on track. From here we learned more about the track, got into a rhythm and reduced our lap time to a 1:02.1. We caught and passed a few people and managed to finish the 12-lap race in 10th position.
Our final race of Saturday was Supertwins Race 1. Our front row starting position was wasted when we backed off for turn 1 too soon and were swamped by bikes! By the end of the opening lap we had been pushed back to 8th on track (2nd in class), so set about settling into a rhythm just like we did in the Open 600 race - this worked and we managed to set a new Personal Best Supertwin lap time of 1:02.981 and managed to take the lead of the Supertwins race from Steve Moody on lap 3. From here we kept pushing and managed to work our way up to 4th on track (just 0.2 of a second from 3rd) and cross the line to win the Supertwin race!
With racing finished for the day, we prepared the bikes for Sunday and then did another track walk. During the walk - whilst hopping along like a bunny - Lucy commented that the track surface was really warm. Having a feel for ourselves, we were surprised that the track had actually retained a lot of heat from the days racing - this information would come into play later in the weekend... But before then we popped into the paddock Formula One bar once again to recover from probably the slowest lap we did all weekend.
Just before we headed to bed, official club photographer Colin Hill presented us with a "Rider of the Round" award for Brands Hatch. Apparently we were supposed to have received this award at Donington Park - but when he came to find us, we had already packed up and left for Darley Moor Round 2...
On the Sunday morning we took part in a practice session on the ZX6R to get up to speed, before it was time for Open 600 Race 2. Finishing in 10th place in Race 1 gave us grid slot 10 for this race, which was a decent improvement.
A decent start saw us move up into 9th position by the end of the opening lap, before moving forward another place on lap 2. We circulated at the head of a mini-group until Blake Shaw came passed on lap 7. We held our place until the final lap when Blake unfortunately crashed on the exit of the first corner, then held off a hard-charging Mark Walker to finish the race in a Personal Best 8th position!
After a short wait it was time for Supertwins Race 2. Once again we failed to take benefit from our good grid position and dropped to 10th position on the opening lap. Joe Thomas took to the grass at 100+mph at the end of the opening lap, which put us into the lead of the Supertwin class. From here we again worked hard to move through the field and got to 5th on track - but importantly we had taken the Supertwin win, with Steve Moody behind us and Edward Giles taking the final podium spot.
After what felt like an age of waiting, it was time for the final couple of races. The weather all day was sunny and we measured the (paddock) track temperature at 41C. We thought that this would be a good scenario, but once out onto track for Open 600 Race 3 it turned out that the high temperature made the track feel greasy (or the tyres feel loose).
We spent the majority of the race in 9th position, before moving up to 8th position on lap 10 of 12. We were in the middle of a 3-rider battle with Ross Walker just in front and Pete Wyatt just behind. We didn't notice the last lap flag, so before we knew it the chequered flag was out and we finished the race in another fabulous 8th position! We even managed to set a new outright PB laptime of 1:02.041. If we had spotted the last-lap flag we may have attempted a manoeuvre, but as we were struggling for grip near the end of the race we were happy that we secured another good result.
The final race of the weekend was Supertwins Race 3. With Supertwin pole position, two Supertwin wins and two fastest laps, the pressure was mounting for another good result.
To keep up with tradition, we had another poor start - this time relegating us to 11th on track (and 3rd in class) at the end of the opening lap. Despite using different tyres, the track conditions felt very similar to the 600 race and the Traction Control was continually kicking in - even on Setting 2. We managed to move up to 2nd in class and then bridged the gap to Steve Moody, who was running quicker than he had all weekend. After following Steve for nearly 5 laps, we made a pass on lap 7 of 12 and then managed to move up to 6th on track by the end of the race - making it 3 wins from 3 starts in the Supertwin class!
Feeling hot, sweaty and generally knackered we packed up and drove home - before watching a bit of WorldSBK and IOM TT on TV.
We are now at the midway point of the NG Road Racing season and the NG championship standings look as follows:
NG Supertwin Championship Standings (Top 5)
1st - David Carson 181
2nd - Steve Moody 161
3rd - Edward Giles 124
4th - Craig Neve 50
5th - Louis Dawson 50
NG Open 600 Championship Standings (Nearest)
10th - Bevan Plumley 53
11th - Cameron Hall 50
12th - David Carson 44
13th - Fabio Dalle Fratte 43
14th - Mark Walker 38
It is also the halfway point of the season for Darley Moor (in terms of race weekends - 3 down, 3 to go - but only 3 of 8 rounds have been completed so far), the Darley Moor championship standings look as follows:
Twins Championship Standings (Top 5)
1st - David Carson 30
2nd - Chris Barton 22
3rd - Richard Saville 20
4th - Andy Whale 15
5th - Jim Barnett 12
Formula 600 Championship Standings (Top 5)
1st - Ben Dale 31
2nd - Richard Cooper 30
3rd - Albert Walker 22
4th - David Carson 18
5th - James Ford 13
There are no further conflicts in our 2022 racing calendar, so fortunately we don't need to make any more difficult choices. Our next race meeting will be back at Darley Moor, at the Round 4/5 double-header on 2nd/3rd July. Before then we have the delayed Darley Moor 2021 Awards Doo to attend, where we will collect our two "vice-champion" runner-up trophies! :-)
Here are some photos from the Donington Park round of the NG Road Racing championships, taken by official photographer Colin Hill...
David Carson Jnr,