Here are some photos from Darley Moor Round 5, taken by official Darley photographer Tony Else...
Following some issues with 3rd gear on the Kawasaki ER650 Supertwin at Round 4, the gearbox from our spare engine was installed for this meeting. A relaxation in COVID restrictions meant that Lorna and the kids could enter the paddock at this meeting, and it was nice to have them around - as Darley Moor Round 5 finally delivered the dry summer's day that we were all hoping for..
We headed up to the circuit on Saturday afternoon, and watched some BSB racing on the Quest freeview channel, before getting the usual scrutineering and signon tasks out of the way. We then headed out for a track walk with Stephen Degnan and Nigel Race. Hopefully Dave Snr was listening carefully as he will be taking part in his first-ever track day at Darley Moor on Monday 19th July as part of the "Peter Hood 'Lofty' Track Day" - we'll let you know how he gets on!
Onto Sunday and it looked like the showers forecast earlier in the week would be avoided. We headed out into the Twins qualifying session and qualified in 2nd position, then headed out into the Formula 600 session where we qualified in 4th position. During the day we experienced some issues with both the cameras and the lap timer, so we don't have a full selection of videos and/or overlays for the meeting like we usually do.
All races in this meeting were scheduled as 10-laps. Our first race of the day was the Allcomers Cup. We drew a 15th grid position "out of the hat" and as soon as we headed onto track some 'mental rain' landed on our visors and screens. We got a great start, entering the Wilsons chicane in 4th position, and by the end of the opening lap we managed to move up to the lead. On lap 2 we were passed by both Chris Moore and Jim Hodson. We kept on going at our pace and then on lap 5 the rain shower got a little heavier - as we couldn't catch the leaders and had a large gap behind, we just managed the race to finish in a comfortable 3rd position.
In Twins Race 1, we got stuck in 2nd gear briefly off the start and dropped to 5th position by the chicane - but were able to move up to 3rd place by the end of the opening lap and then up to 2nd position by the end of lap 2. At the end of the race, Jim Hodson took the win, we finished in 2nd and Richard Hunt took the final podium spot.
Next was Formula 600 Race 1 and we managed to retain our 4th place position from the grid to the chicane. We circulated in 4th position for a couple of laps and then got a bit impatient and tried some optimistic (and unsuccessful) moves on lap 3 to try to get into 3rd position - one at Park corner and another at the hairpin (circa 2:20 and 2:45 on the onboard video). These failed attempts moved us back into 5th position, so we regrouped and then tried to progress again. By the end of lap 4 we had managed to move up into 3rd position, but were 2.60 seconds behind the race leader. We put in some clean fast laps and closed the gap until we caught a backmarker at Townleys on lap 9. At the chequered flag we were 0.92 of a second behind race winner Ben Handley, Albert Walker finished in 2nd place and we finished in 3rd place.
There was now a lunch break, so we took the time to relax - safe in the knowledge that we were ready for the 'important' afternoon races (which give points and trophies). Twins Race 2 was called so we started final preparations - and it was at this point that we noticed that the tyres on both bikes were stone cold. It transpired that "one of the children" had switched off the tyre warmer extension lead at the plug socket in the caravan... So we switched them back on and waited until the very last moment to head to the assembly area, which gave the tyres around 5 minutes on the warmers.
Knowing that we couldn't attack from the off, we made a plan to spend several laps warming the tyres and then to ride as hard as possible to capture as many championship points as possible. We felt lucky that today's races were 10 laps!
At the end of the warm-up lap, the ever-quick Jim Hodson was forced to pull out of the race with a mechanical issue and didn't take the start. When the lights went out we cautiously pulled away and entered the chicane in 4th position - carrying as little speed as possible in order to not crash on our cold tyres. We continued to ride steadily and dropped to 5th place by the end of the lap. Each lap we got a little quicker but by the end of lap 3 we had already dropped to 6.14 seconds behind the leader, so decided to chance upping the pace. By the end of lap 5, we had moved up to 2nd place and were less than 4 seconds behind leader Richard Hunt. We managed to bridge the gap and took the lead on lap 7. At the chequered flag we took the win, with Richard Hunt taking 2nd position and Anthony Thane taking the final podium spot.
A special mention goes out to 5th-place finisher Matthew Birks who had a brush with the barrier at Townleys (circa 3:02 on the onboard video) and managed to keep upright across the grass and rejoin at the middle of the hairpin!
The final race of our day was Formula 600 Race 2. A decent start saw us enter the chicane in 4th position. The laptimes for the top 4 were very similar, so making a pass was tough, but we managed to force a pass through to 3rd place at Park corner on lap 5 - we ran wide but managed to just stay ahead into the back esses.
We then rode hard to close the gap to the leader and at the end of lap 8 the Top 3 in the race were covered by just 0.90 of a second. But at Park corner on lap 9 we got caught up with a backmarker (circa 8:22 on the onboard video) which broke the tow and we unfortunately lost touch with the leading group. Albert Walker took the race win, with Ben Handley taking 2nd place, and we took the final podium spot! Although we were disappointed that we couldn't keep the fight going until the chequered flag, we were happy with our overall performance.
After Round 5 (of 8) of the 2021 Darley Moor season, the championship tables currently look as follows.
FORMULA 600 CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (TOP 10)
Albert Walker 39
Tom Fisher 30
David Carson 23
David Glossop 14
Ben Handley 12
Richard Wardle 10
Jordan Bannon 10
Richard Baker 8
Liam Weston 8
Tim Walsh 6
TWINS CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (TOP 10)
David Carson 37
Jim Hodson 30
Anthony Thane 18
Richard Hunt 18
Sean Seddon 12
James Barnett 10
Andrew Herd 8
Kieran Jackson 8
Martin Kelly 7
Steven Pritchard 6
Whilst packing up after this hectic day we noticed that the titanium Arata exhaust on the Supertwin had cracked, so that will need to be sent away for repair prior to our next race meeting. Our next race meeting will be Darley Moor Round 6 on Sunday 12th September - but before then, Dave Jnr will be doing some wingwalking, which includes a 'loop the loop' along with other aerial feats! We'll see you soon :-)
David Carson Jnr,