Here are some photos from the fourth and fifth Darley Moor meetings of 2018, taken by official Darley photographer Tony Else...
It’s been 7 weeks since our last race meeting and during that time (the summer heatwave!) we swapped engines in the Kawasaki Supertwin multiple times, before finally installing the same engine that we ran at Darley Moor Round 3. The weather forecast for the weekend was hot and dry, so we were hoping to see some new Personal Best laps being set on each bike if all went well.
Heading up to Darley on the Friday afternoon, once setup we treated ourselves to some ice-cold Boddingtons bitter! This meeting also featured the return of former-Darley-champion Brad Vicars who was returning from injury and using the meeting to check that all was well with his recovery before his return to the Isle of Man and the Manx Grand Prix at the end of this month.
DARLEY MOOR ROUND 4
The promised warm weather arrived and it was both fantastic and a nightmare at the same time - such great weather to ride in but once you stopped it didn’t take long before you were drenched in sweat!
Out into the first (Mini Sound of Thunder) qualifying session we blew away some cobwebs and got quicker and quicker each lap, finally qualifying 2nd in class.
We were then straight out into the Formula 600 qualifying, where on the first flying lap Matt Zschiesche had a big crash on his Triumph 675 which brought out the red flag. Matt was generally OK but his bike unfortunately didn't fare as well.
Following the restart to the session we chipped away at our times and qualified 6th in the Formula 600 class.
Our first race of the Saturday was the Allcomers up-to-650cc race. We picked grid position 6 "out of the hat" and entered the first chicane in 4th position. On the opening lap we managed to pass Tony Griffiths and Alex Brawn to move behind leader Martin Robbins, then on lap two (of ten) we took the lead. From there it was quite a lonely eight laps to the end of the race where we took the win from Jason Wilkes, with Brad Vicars taking 3rd place.
Next up was the Peak Cup race which we entered for some extra track time. To our surprise we had qualified 7th place on the grid against a large collection of 1000cc bikes. After a decent race with some entertaining battles, we managed to bring our little Kawasaki Supersport 600 bike home in 8th place.
Our third race of the day was the Formula 600 race. A good start got us into 4th place and some solid and consistent laps meant that we managed to maintain that position until the finish. But when he results sheets were published we discovered that a jump start by Rich Baker (with an accompanying 10 second penalty) meant that we took the final podium spot of 3rd place, along with our first ever Formula 600 championship points!
Straight after the Formula 600 race had finished we hopped onto the Kawasaki Supertwin and started the Mini Sound of Thunder race. We ran in 2nd place all race and had a good battle with PreInjection rider Michael Wright. Despite putting in the fastest lap of the race at the end of the race, we were beaten to the flag by 1.37 seconds by Elliot Williams. We took 2nd place with Ian Robinson taking 3rd place.
Our fifth race of the day was Formula 600 race 2. Due to our 3rd place finish earlier in the day we started from the front row. But an over exuberant clutch release popped the front wheel into the air. A quick grab of the clutch and a second attempt at a race start put us into the first chicane in last place! But we worked hard to move through the pack and managed to gain another championship point for a 6th place finish - but more impressively we set the Fastest Lap of the race and we dipped under the one-minute barrier for our first time ever, with a laptime of 59.85!
Our final race on Saturday was Mini Sound of Thunder race 2, which was a cracker. After an OK start and a couple of passes on the opening lap, we found ourselves behind race-leader Elliot Williams but with a 2-second gap to bridge. After several good laps we found ourselves on Elliot’s back wheel. We then proceeded to have a battle for the win that would go down to the final corner of the final lap - with Elliot coming out on top by 0.26 of a second. We took 2nd place and Ian Robinson took the final podium spot.
DARLEY MOOR ROUND 5
Sunday provided more fantastic weather for racing and qualifying went well - we took 2nd place in class for the Mini Sound of Thunder race and 4th place in the Formula 600 class. Unfortunately, our fellow competitor Jason Wilkes suffered brake failure in one of the sessions and both bike and rider were too injured to continue - get well soon Jason!
Our first race on the Sunday was once again the Allcomers up-to-650cc race. After taking the lead on the opening lap, thanks to Ian Robinson attempting to highside out of Paddock corner, we put in some solid laps to take the win and fastest lap in the Allcomers race. Ian Robinson recomposed himself to take 2nd place, with Martin Robbins taking 3rd place.
Unfortunately the front-facing GoPro camera mount snapped on lap four of the race (at 3:47 in the video below), so we captured some more interesting shots - but that meant no more onboard videos would be captured this weekend...
Our second race was Formula 600 race 1. An OK start meant that we got caught in traffic. We progressed through the field at a decent rate until we caught David Shallcross who has a quick bike and is great on the brakes, which makes him very tough to pass! But during the final laps we managed to sneak through into 5th place and we set a new Personal Best lap of 59.80 on the final lap of the race!
Directly following the Formula 600 race was Mini Sound of Thunder race 1, which was red flagged at the first attempt following a highside by an R1-rider on the opening lap. At the restart we got caught up with PreInjection-rider Tim Walshaw had a good battle with Ian Robinson for 2nd place in our class. In the end we managed to secure 2nd place, with Elliot Williams taking another win.
When the second Formula 600 race started, we only managed a lap before the red flag was out due to a nasty crash for Carl Booth which resulted in pelvis injuries - get well soon Carl!
After a short break the race restarted and we settled into 4th place, which is where we remained for the entire race. We managed to cling onto some of the leading pack and on the final lap we set another new Personal Best lap of 59.73!
As is now the usual, we were once again out straight away in the second Mini Sound of Thunder race, where again we had a battle for 2nd place with Ian Robinson. At the chequered flag, Elliot Williams took the win, we took 2nd place and Ian Robinson finished in 3rd place.
On reflection, we think that this weekend has been fantastic and we feel like we are riding well. Despite not winning everything we entered, we ensured that we gave it our all - and that’s all we can do!
With five (out of seven) championship rounds now complete, we are currently 2nd in the Mini Sound of Thunder championship and 9th in the Formula 600 championship.
MINI SOUND OF THUNDER CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (TOP 5)
Elliot Williams 76
David Carson 48
Ian Robinson 21
Richard Stubbs 12
Jason Wilkes 12
FORMULA 600 CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (TOP 10)
Jamie Pearson 39
Carl Booth 28
Lloyd Shelley 27
Chris Sammons 27
Rich Baker 26
Matt Zschiesche 22
Stephen Parsons 18
Scott Stevens 11
David Carson 10
David Shallcross 9
Our remaining race meetings for the season are:
* NG Road Racing club at Castle Combe on Saturday/Sunday 1st-2nd September
* Darley Moor Round 6 on Sunday 16th September
* Darley Moor Round 7 (including the "Stars at Darley" races) on Saturday/Sunday 6th-7th October
If you attend any of these race meetings, please come over and say Hi! :-)
David Carson Jnr,