Here are some photos from the first Darley Moor meeting of 2016, taken by official Darley photographer Tony Else...
The start of the new Darley Moor racing season marked the start of our 10th full season racing with the Darley Moor club (with our first full season being all the way back in 1996!). With Darley Moor being a local circuit and the April showers holding off for the most part, we had a full crew of family in attendance.
Arriving on the Saturday morning, we decided not to take part in the planned test day as it was very wet but decided instead just to set-up on some hard standing for the weekend. The hard standing made the weekend more comfortable, but we were unable to hear the paddock announcements, which was a bit frustrating.
Rain overnight meant that our first qualifying session was damp - we opted for wet tyres which proved to be the best choice and managed to secure pole position in the Formula Darley class. During the session we were missing gears a lot and on the return to the paddock we discovered that the gear change arm was loose, as the aluminium thread had broken down. A quick remedy using a 6mm drill bit and a replacement nut and bolt, and we were good to go for our second qualifying session. By now the track had completely dried, so we decided to do a couple of quick laps on the wet tyres and then pit. This did the job and we also secured pole position in the Mini Sound of Thunder class as well.
Now on dry tyres, in the first Mini Sound of Thunder race of the day we had a less than average start and entered Park corner in 4th place in class. By the end of the first lap we had moved up to second place behind Stall Racing's Stuart Hall, and on lap 2 we were able to take the race lead which we kept until the end of the race. We won the race by 8 seconds and set the fastest lap of the race.
The second race of the day, the Two Daves Racing sponsored Formula Darley race 1, provided a slightly better start with us getting into the first chicane in third place behind Stuart Hall and Kaine Sheriff. The race was looking like it was turning into a three-way battle until Kaine ran wide out of the first chicane on the start of the second lap, onto the grass, sprayed up some mud and then tankslapped himself back onto the track. This allowed us and Daley Mathison to get passed and we then continued to chase down Stuart Hall. On lap 5 we managed to take the lead from Stuart and managed to stay there until the flag, taking the win and once again setting the fastest lap of the race.
Mini Sound of Thunder race 2 was a two-way battle between Stuart Hall and us. After recovering from another average start, we took the lead on lap 3, then took the race win and set the fastest lap of the race.
Formula Darley race 2 was the closest finish of the day, with just 0.06 of a second separating us from eventual winner Stuart Hall after a tussle that went down to the last corner of the last lap of the race. With a near collision on the start-line, recurring gearbox issues and making our way through traffic, it took until the last lap of the race for us to claw back Stuart's initial advantage and make a pass for the lead. Even though we managed to make the pass onto the back straight, we couldn't keep the lead to the line. As a consolation prize, we did manage to register the fastest lap of the race.
With the first round (of eight) completed, our points tally for the day put us as the leader of both the Formula Darley and Mini Sound of Thunder championships.
The next round of our racing season is this coming weekend, at BEMSEE Round 2 at Donington Park. If you will be in attendance, please come around and say Hi! :-)
David Carson Jnr,