Here are some photos from Round 2 of the Darley Moor championships, taken by official Darley photographer Tony Else...
Darley Moor Round 2 was living proof that motorcycle racing's epic highs and epic lows can be experienced on the same day!
As usual we turned up on the day before the event - but this time there was a special treat awaiting us... as the Darley Moor team had welcomed in external caterers with wood-fired pizzas, coffees and cakes on offer. The pizzas proved so popular that they ran out of stock 90 minutes before their intended closing time! Fortunately, we were able to enjoy the delicious food whilst watching the British Superbike racing from Donington Park on TV in the race awning - we really did feel spoilt! :-)
With the bikes, paperwork and admin tasks out of the way we enjoyed an early night then awoke to a beautiful and sunny morning.
We were out in the first and second qualifying sessions of the day, but the 10:00 start felt like a luxury compared to the recent 08:40 starts at some of the NG events. The sessions were busy but we managed to get a couple of clear laps in - which were good enough to set Pole Position for the 700cc Twins, Formula 600 and Darley Cup races.
After the rush of qualifying we then had a 2-3 hour gap until our next session out on track. During this time, Mac Measuria from JNV Composites Ltd stopped by our awning for an in-depth discussion regarding chains and sprockets - and it sounded like he had some ideas of where innovative materials could be used in this area. We'll let you know more if we hear anything further...
The first race of the day was Formula 600 Race 1. A decent start saw us enter the Wilson's chicane in 2nd position (1st in class) but we took the overall race lead by the end of the opening lap and managed to stretch out a lead that we managed to the end where we secured the win by 6.63 seconds.
After a short break we were out again in 700cc Twins Race 1. Our inability to get the Aprilia RS660 cleanly off the line continued, as we entered the Wilson's chicane in 5th position (3rd in class) - but were able to overtake three riders into Park corner to take the class lead. From here the plan should have been to take a sensible approach and try to secure the class win, but... The racer in us came out!
We were slowly closing in on overall race-leader Kaine Sheriff (on his Pre-Electronic 600 machine) and by the end of lap 4 were onto his back wheel. Whilst chasing him down we also managed to dip just under the 1-minute barrier again, putting in a 59.99 second lap time. Due to the different strengths of the different machines, we could follow Kaine but were unable to pass him.
However, on the final lap he appeared to miss a gear change coming out of the hairpin which allowed us to temporarily move into the lead before he sneaked passed us down the Pope Straight. Into the final corner we were able to make a successful pass and held the lead to the line to take the overall victory by 0.27 of a second (and our class win by 30.26 seconds). The pace in the race was so hot that we also managed to set a new race record!
Darley Cup Race 1 was a great opportunity for us to get in some quality laps, as a fantastic start got us the hole shot into the Wilson's chicane and we led the race from lights-to-flag, taking victory by 15.35 seconds and setting a fastest lap of 58.44 - as well as setting a new race record!
We were then onto the post-lunch races, which is where things unfortunately went wrong. After an aborted start to the race we got an OK start and moved into 2nd position behind Joe Walton. We felt like we had some more speed in us but were unable to get into a position to make a clean pass so ended up following Joe closely through the race (with gaps as small as 0.04 and 0.07 splitting us), looking for an opportunity to make a move.
Then at the start of lap 8, Joe made a mistake and ran wide at the Wilson's chicane which allowed us to take the race lead. Heading into Park corner Joe did a late lunge and ran wide, also taking us slightly wide. When we got on the throttle the rear end broke loose and resulted in a highside crash. During the crash the bike landed on our left hand, crushed our wedding ring and ripped the glove off - resulting in some grazing damage to the hand. Further injuries (just bumps and bruises) were also experienced to the left shoulder, right hip and right knee.
The bike must have taken a roll during the crash as both rearsets were bent, both handlebars were bent, the tank and seat have damage to the top, etc. Fortunately spares for the Kawasaki ZX6R are readily available (and we already have some 'crash consumables' in stock).
So not the ending to the day that we were expecting or hoping for! Despite winning 3 out of the 4 races in each championship (i.e. 9 out of 12 Darley Moor races), due to how points are awarded we have dropped substantially in each championship.
Darley Cup Championship (Top 5)
Adam Green 27
David Carson 15
Stephen England 12
Andy Sellars 10
Matthew Rostron 10
700cc Twins Championship (Top 5)
Anthony Thane 25
Matthew Birks 20
David Carson 15
Ben Wilkinson 14
Andy Whale 12
Formula 600 Championship (Top 5)
Adam Green 22
Matthew Rostron 18
Adam Mather 16
Mark Goodings 16
David Carson 15
The 3 victories from this round mean that our total victory tally is up to 148 club racing wins - very close to another milestone! We are hoping that we can reach the magical 150 wins tally during the 2023 season...
There is a 4-week gap between this round and the next event, which is Darley Moor Round 3 on 18th June. Replacement parts have already been ordered to fix the Kawasaki ZX6R and hopefully that will provide sufficient physical recovery time. Fingers crossed that we can come back competitive at the next round!
Here are some photos from the Donington Park round of the 2023 NG Road Racing championships, taken by official photographer Colin Hill...
Round 3 of the NG Road Racing championships was held at the newly-resurfaced Donington Park. Despite choosing not to take part in the Friday test day, we headed across to the circuit on the Thursday evening so that we could setup early and then assist Daniel Nurrish after his return to racing following injury. Perhaps it's time we should setup the "Two Daves Racing Academy"... ;-)
Due to lucky circumstances, we were able to get a mains-electricity hook-up for the weekend, which made things easier (and quieter!) throughout the weekend. With scrutineering and sign-on out of the way on Friday evening, we did a track walk to check out the freshly-laid billiard-table-smooth tarmac - and then went for refreshments at the Garage 39 bar afterwards.
Saturday Race Day
Our first time to ride on the circuit came in the very first practice session of the day. The weather was overcast and dry but quite chilly, so we took our time getting up to speed. The day before other riders had mentioned that the new surface, being so smooth, gave very little feedback yet provided lots of grip - so we slowly learned to trust that the grip was there as we got quicker and quicker in the practice sessions.
When the Supertwins qualifying session started, the temperature had increased and so had our confidence. It was difficult to find a clear lap in the session with 40+ riders on track, but we managed to put in a couple of clean laps and set a New Personal Best lap time of 1:16.389 to qualify in 2nd place on the combined grid (along with the PreInjection 600s and FPR Supermonos) behind a flying Brody Crockford - who was uncatchable all weekend.
In the Open 600 qualifying session, which again was very busy, we set a New Personal Best lap time for the ZX6R of 1:14.487, which placed us a respectable 7th on the packed grid.
We were now onto the races and first up was Supertwins Race 1. A poor start put us 5th into the first corner (3rd in class), before moving up to 4th (2nd in class) at Hollywood on the opening lap. We then set our targets on the pair of PreInjection 600 riders ahead and managed to catch and pass both to cross the line and finish 2nd on track. We also managed to set a New Personal Best lap time of 1:15.945 during the race.
Our final race of the day was Open 600 Race 1. A decent start saw us end the opening lap in 8th position, just behind the leader of the Clubman 600 class Bevan Plumley. During the race, the pack split into several chunks of riders - race leader George Edwards was away on his own, then there were 5-riders in the 1:12 bracket, then there was our 4-rider battle for 7th position. We lapped very close to our Personal Best lap time during the race and on the last lap successfully made a pass to move into 7th position which is where we finished.
By the end of the day we had decided that our rear tyres - which had done 73 laps on the Supertwin and 86 laps on the 600 - were due for replacement, so we treated them to new Conti Race Attack 2 replacements.
After prepping the bikes for the Sunday races and enduring a horrible visit to the temporary "festival showers" (due to the roof of the main shower building collapsing), we settled down in the caravan for some dinner and watched the Eurovision final on TV...
Sunday Race Day
Our on-track action for Sunday began with Supertwins Race 2. After a couple of aborted starts the race finally began. Another poor start saw us temporarily move down to 8th on track (4th in class), but by the end of the opening lap we had moved back up to 6th on track (3rd in class) just behind Steve Moody. On lap 3 we managed to get an awesome drive out of Coppice corner and moved past Steve. We then chased down PreInjection 600 racer Craig Crossley to move into 4th position on track before getting involved in a fantastically entertaining race through some backmarkers for 3rd position on track with FPR Supermono rider Jay Bellers-Smith. We managed to finished 3rd on track (2nd in class) by just 0.1 of a second! Along the way we managed to set another New Personal Best lap time of 1:15.583.
A fantastic start to Open 600 Race 2 meant that we managed to keep the "1:12 bracket battle" in sight for a few laps before they pulled away from us. We put in sections of good laps but struggled to put it all together until the second half of the race when we managed to set a New Personal Best lap time of 1:13.596. At the end of the race we crossed the line to take another 7th position finish.
In the sunny lunch break we then went around the paddock with Lucy - handing out gingerbread men to fellow racers and their helpers/kids :-)
Supertwins Race 3 was red flagged at first attempt due to an unfortunate start line crash between Jamie Ingham and David Leslie. Jamie suffered a broken leg and damaged calf - we wish Jamie a quick and full recovery!
Another poor start saw us drop to 6th position on track (4th in class) out of the first corner, before closing up to the back of the 'battle for 2nd place' pack by the end of the opening lap. At Craner Curves on lap 2, the engine appeared to lose drive and slow down - looking at the datalogging it appears that the ECU captures a momentary drop in RPM (down to almost zero) before things go back to normal. This issue was not experienced again during the race but cost us ~1.5 seconds on lap 2, meaning we had work to do!
We then put five laps in the 1:15 bracket which allowed us to catch class-rivals Harley Prebble and Alex Sinclair to move up to 3rd on track (2nd in class). Then on final corner of the final lap an aborted overtaking maneuver on a backmarker by Dean Ratcliff allowed us to sneak through to finish in 2nd place overall.
All of this hard riding had taken it's toll on our riding gear - with boots and knee sliders being eaten away!
The final race of the weekend was Open 600 Race 3. Another fantastic start put us into 7th place out of the first corner - but the wind had picked up and the front tyre felt like it was pushing in some of the faster corners. We were also consciously attempting to raise our boot/leg/knee off the floor which may have taken away some concentration. The result of this was that Bevan Plumley made a move past us during the opening lap. Later in the race Michael Rees made a move on the brakes at the Foggy Esses but ran wide, then later attempted a move into Coppice. It was a great battle but in the end we managed to keep both riders behind us and we scored another 7th position result.
This was a great weekend for us! We walked away with a trio of trophies, secured new Personal Best lap times on both bikes - we were 2.2 seconds quicker on the 600 and 1.6 seconds quicker on the Supertwin - and we scored a handful of championship points!
Due to missing the opening round of the NG championships we are still quite low in the championship standings - but after this weekend we have moved into 5th in the Open 600 championship and 3rd in the Supertwins championship.
Open 600 Championship Standings (Top 10)
George Edwards 191
Ricky Elder 186
Michael Rees 89
Jed Bird 77
David Carson 75
Jorge Halliday 45
Tom Weeden 40
Alex Duncan 40
Sam Laidlow 37
Robert Cresswell 36
Supertwins Championship Standings (Top 10)
Brody Crockford 148
Steve Moody 114
David Carson 103
Jamie Ingham 87
Jamie Coward 75
Edward Giles 64
Tony Parker 55
William Holland 49
Paul Williams 45
Alex Sinclair 42
There isn't long to wait for more racing action, as we are out again this coming weekend at Darley Moor Round 2 on Sunday 21st May.
David Carson Jnr,