Here are some extra photos from the opening round of the Darley Moor championships, taken by Kevin Gunstone...
Here are some photos from the opening round of the Darley Moor championships, taken by official Darley photographer Tony Else...
What turned out to be pretty much a perfect weekend (results-wise) was slightly less than perfect in the days leading up to it.
Since our last update we performed some last-minute jobs to prepare the bikes for race action - like fitting new dry tyres, changing the coolant for water, stocking up the caravan, buying plenty of super unleaded fuel, etc - but the major issue that arose was "How will we get to the circuit?"...
Our trusty yellow van had become poorly and required some new parts - which would not arrive in time to be fixed for the weekend - but we managed to source a replacement van via Chris Parker of Parker's Knutsford Removals.
The replacement van was plenty big enough for the bikes and our usual gear, but the lack of a tow bar meant that we would not have use of our caravan for the weekend. Due to this, we decided to travel to the circuit on the morning of the test day.
Saturday Test Day
We arrived at the sodden circuit just before 8am, then setup our awning and did our best to sweep out as much standing water as possible, before converting the back of the van into "daytime mode".
Leading up to the test day, the weather forecast showed a mainly dry day - but it unfortunately turned out to be a washout. After succumbing to the fact that we wouldn't get any dry track time (around noon), we fit the wet tyres and headed out for a couple of sessions - just to check that there were no obvious issues present after the engine rebuilds.
We also managed to get a few tasks out of the way during the sessions - like bed-in some new brake pads as well as our "new old stock" leathers. Around 7 years ago when we ordered the made-to-measure leathers, we ordered two sets but only ever used one of the sets. After many seasons of use that first set is starting to appear "used", so we have (finally) decided to start using the second set. The test day also gave us a chance to get used to our new helmets and to test out the track resurfacing that had taken place at Park corner over the winter.
The test day was the first chance that we had to try out the Continental wet tyres. Due to loving Continental's dry tyres we held high hopes for the wets, but the very low temperatures (both air and track) combined with their slightly harder compound compared to the Bridgestones we have used over the past few seasons meant that we struggled to adapt to them.
After scrutineering and sign-on activities were completed, it was then time to convert the van into "bedtime mode"...
We then took advantage of Daniel Nurrish's kind offer to join him in his caravan and used our laptop to catch up on the day's MotoGP action from Portugal.
Sunday Race Day
After an awful night of sleep in the back of a van - mainly due to the ambient temperature resembling that of a fridge! - we awoke to yet more wet tarmac.
Our ideas of the expected "fully dry" day were immediately gone and it looked like it would be wet until at least the afternoon. After considering our options, we decided to swap the Continental wet tyres for a set of Bridgestone wet tyres that we had in the van (a slightly used front and brand new rear) as we though that putting both bikes onto the same tyres would make life a little easier.
We were out on track in the first session of the day for the 700cc Twins qualifying. The air temperature was around 6C and the circuit was cold, wet and slippery - probably to be expected very usual for March! We set off very steadily to give the new rear tyre a chance to bed in, but at the first corner two bikes had crashed and brought grass/mud onto the circuit - so the session was red flagged. After a short wait the session restarted, but by turn two another rider had fallen! By this point we had decided to build pace very slowly to try to give the tyres a chance to build some heat. We steadily went quicker and quicker and by the end of the session had set pole position for the 700cc Twins class.
We were then straight out again for the joint Formula 600 and Darley Cup qualifying session. Once again we built up speed slowly and on the final lap of qualifying were on for an even quicker time, but were held up by a slower rider through the back esses. We qualified in 2nd position for the Formula 600 and Darley Cup races, which we were happy with. Unfortunately, Daniel Nurrish wasn't quite as lucky and had crashed during the session - but the rider was OK and the machine was repairable.
Our first race of the day was the first Darley Moor race of the season - Darley Cup Race 1. As there were still some damp patches visible (and it was still bitterly cold), we decided to use the wet tyres for the race - as did the majority of other racers. A good start put us 2nd into the Wilsons chicane, then we moved into the lead at the next corner. From there our aim was to put in smooth laps but by the third lap the tyres were already beginning to overheat and create a lot of movement on the bike. Regardless we decided to carry on and push as hard as we could. At the chequered flag, we won the race by 17.25 seconds and had set the fastest lap of the race.
As soon as we got back to the paddock we switched across to our brand new dry tyres (on both bikes), before heading out for Formula 600 Race 1. A great start saw us take the holeshot but with new tyres fitted - and still with single-digit temperatures around - we tried to make sure that they were properly scrubbed before pushing on. Despite this, by the end of lap 2 we had extended an 8-second lead. By the end of the 8-lap race, we had won the race by 23.41 seconds. We also set the fastest lap of the race.
After the race we learned some bad news though, as Daniel Nurrish who had rushed to repair his Yamaha R6 had fallen again on the sighting lap due to insufficient heat in his tyres. This second crash of the day signalled the end of the day for Daniel, who suffered a hand/wrist injury. We wish Daniel all the best on his recovery and hope to see him at the track again soon!
It was now time for our first race on the Aprilia RS660 Trofeo in 700cc Twins Race 1. Another good start saw us take the holeshot and then lead all the way to the chequered flag, taking the fastest lap on the way to our victory by 12.42 seconds.
During the lunch break we gave both bikes a clean and a check-over. It was at this point that we noticed that the Kawasaki ZX6R camera was still recording. We hoped that the camera would have enough battery left to finish the day, but it didn't - so that was the end of the onboard footage for the day on that bike...
Straight after the lunch break we were into the points/trophy races. Our three victories in the morning meant that we would start from pole position for each of the points races.
The first points race was in Darley Cup Race 2. Another good start, followed by some clean laps, meant that we created a gap to the other competitors of 25.87 seconds at the end of the 10-lap race to take another win. We once again set the fastest lap of the race, but despite trying to break the 1-minute barrier we could only get down to a 1'00.27. The new track surface at Park corner, combined with the high wind and low temperatures was making setting quicker lap times extremely difficult.
When the Formula 600 Race 2 started, we got a quite poor start that put us in 3rd position into the Wilson chicane. However, at the end of the opening lap we managed to pass both riders on the brakes into Paddock corner. From there we put in some clean laps, set the fastest lap of the race with a 1'00.16, and won the race by 14.63 seconds. This race signified the first Formula 600 trophy race we have won where we actually passed the chequered flag (rather than the race ending via a red flag).
Our final race of the day was 700cc Twins Race 2. By this point in the day, some cloud coverage had returned and there were spots of rain coming down. Another poor start saw us enter Wilsons chicane in 3rd place, but due to the Aprilia's grunt we were able to move into the lead by the end of the opening lap. From there we maintained our lead, set another fastest lap and took the win by 10.58 seconds to round off a great day!
With 6 races entered, 6 races won and 6 fastest laps achieved (along with a pole position & 2nd-placed qualifying results) - this may well be the most successful day of racing we have had, especially considering that the winning margin for every race was in excess of 10 seconds!
The great news is that our victories mean that we now lead 3 Darley Moor championships (which is a first for us!). There is a break until the next round of the Darley Moor championships, which will take place on Sunday 21st May, so until then the championship standings will remain as below.
Darley Cup Championship (Top 5)
1st: David Carson 15
2nd: Adam Green 12
3rd: Andy Sellars 10
4th: Patrick Lord 8
5th: Lee Whitehouse 6
Formula 600 Championship (Top 5)
1st: David Carson 15
2nd: Matthew Rostron 12
3rd: Adam Green 10
4th: Adam Mather 8
5th: Jack Worth 6
700cc Twins Championship (Top 5)
1st: David Carson 15
2nd: Andy Whale 12
3rd: Anthony Thane 10
4th: Matthew Birks 8
5th: Ben Wilkinson 6
Fortunately there isn't long to wait until our next race though, as our maiden visit to the Croft circuit will be taking place this coming weekend. This is a non-championship event for us, so hopefully we'll just be able to relax and enjoy the time on circuit! We'll let you know how we get on... :-)
Following up from 2023 Season Preparation - Update 1, here is some more info regarding changes we have made for the 2023 season.
The big news is that we have now received our Aprilia RS660 Trofeo back from PHR Performance. The bike has PHR porting and cams, along with a Rapid Bike Racing module fitted. These changes mean that we now have a monstrous 110.12bhp at the rear wheel! At the start of the 2022 season (following the initial run-in mileage) the dyno showed 92.1bhp. Prior to the work at PHR the bike was then showing 97.9bhp, which means we will have an additional 12+bhp for this coming season :-)
To help make rear wheel changes easier, an L74 Quick Change kit has been fitted to the swingarm. We now have two complete rear wheels available to save time, which meant that we also needed to acquire an additional sprocket carrier/sprocket nuts/sprockets - as well as some cush rubbers that came all the way from America! Whilst doing this we also treated the bike to a new DID chain.
Finally, some new carbon tank protectors have been added to reduce damage to the tank in case of an accident.
It has been a while since we (properly) assessed/reviewed the spares kit that we carry to race events. As van space is limited we cannot take everything we have, so this was an important task.
Our trusty van has passed its MOT and is ready for another year. However, some pre-season issues recently became apparent meaning that a fuel pressure sensor (and possibly some other parts) needed to be replaced to keep the van in running order.
The caravan has been treated to a thorough wash and clean. The cooking grill has also received some repairs - it seems that after ~30 years of existence the wear and tear had worn away the mounting fixtures, so some creative solutions were needed to remount it!
Due to a decision by Weebly (the company that host this website) to change their pricing structure, we have been forced to upgrade our hosting plan. Because of how the plans are structured, we decided to choose an upgrade that removes all Weebly branding and also allows a custom 'favicon' (visible when viewing via a browser).
With the introduction of Palletways as a sponsor, it was time to introduce some new clothing items too! The newly-branded clothing has now arrived, just in time for the season ahead!
And finally, the race-ready bikes have had the final decals applied. As previously mentioned, for the 2023 season we will be running the #1 plate on the RS660 at both Darley Moor and NG Road Racing meetings.
The first race meeting of our 2023 season is now just one week away, with a Saturday test day followed by the opening round of the Darley Moor championships on Sunday 26th March - wish us luck!
A while has passed since our last race meeting (and it is less than a month until the start of our 2023 season), so we thought we would provide an update of what has been going on behind the scenes over the "winter off-season"... This is part 1 of 2, as we are not able to provide an update on the RS660 quite yet - so that will follow shortly!
Our Kawasaki ZX6R Supersport machine visited MSS Performance over the winter to have an engine refresh. Whilst there the Power Commander decided to pickup a fault, so the ECU has now been flashed instead. At the rear wheel the bike is running at 130.1bhp, which we are happy with.
Updated Race Clothing
To help to keep us safe, a couple of new AGV helmets have been acquired and some upgraded (CE Level 2) shoulder armour has been added to our spare set of leathers.
New Setup Sheets
For the 2023 season, our trusty paper setup sheets have been modified for the following reasons:
We have been fortunate to retain Rock Oil and Pomerol Partners for the coming season. As previously mentioned, Palletways will be joining us for this season. Although not technically a sponsor, the Darley Moor club's award of free entry fees for the 2023 season will save us some substantial costs - so we are certainly grateful for that!
With the introduction of Palletways, it was time to update our branded items for the season ahead. These include new Business Cards, new stickers and an updated banner.
During February we participated in a gruelling bootcamp-style training programme run by BSB-superstar Christian Iddon. Our test results showed a distinct improvement between the fitness test at the start of the programme and the fitness test at the end, so we're glad that the effort was worth it! We even got a certificate... :-)
New Race Meeting Added to 2023 Calendar
In 2023 we will be racing at Croft circuit for the first time ever! Unfortunately, the 600cc and Supertwin machines compete in the same class, so we will be taking just the Kawasaki ZX6R. We will be on track for the Friday test day on 31st March and the Saturday race day on 1st April.
And finally... After years floating around the paddock, new for the 2023 season, Steph Carson will be taking on the role of Hospitality Manager! We would like to wish her all the best in her new role and look forward to some lovely food and drink...
David Carson Jnr,