Here are some photos from the sixth Darley Moor meeting of 2017, taken by official Darley photographer Tony Else...
We'll start with some fantastic news - we have managed to secure the 2017 Formula Darley championship at Darley Moor Round 6 this weekend (with a race meeting to spare). We won this championship last season and are extremely happy to crowned as champions once again!
Prior to the meeting we fit brand new genuine Kawasaki clutches into both engines and performed an oil/filter change.
Running the bike up to temperature we noticed that our Radicool radiator had once again sprung a leak...
Our local radiator repair shop (who repaired the radiator earlier in the season) attempted a repair but it was unsuccessful, so our smaller back-up radiator was fitted instead - which we hoped would provide sufficient cooling. With that sorted, we were ready to go!
On the Sunday we were out early for noise testing (100dB for those interested) and then Lucy helped her mummy put the tyre warmers on in preparation for our qualifying session.
We started Qualifying with a few steady laps to check that everything was OK before trying to put a fast lap in. On our first flying lap we noticed that there was still a little clutch slip occurring, so decided to finish the lap and then pull in early. Our single flying lap qualified us in 2nd position in class (4th on the combined Lightweight/Formula Darley grid & 8th on the combined Sound of Thunder grid), with Jason Wilkes taking the pole position. Joe Walton had a mechanical failure on the out lap which prevented him putting in a qualifying time, so would start from the back of each grid.
At the start of Formula Darley race 1, we managed to take the lead of our class into the first chicane. We led for a few laps but kept making small mistakes. Jason Wilkes came passed us and we decided to follow Jason for a while and recompose ourselves to get back into the flow. On lap 5 we looked behind and saw that Joe Walton had made his way up to 3rd position, so decided to push on and try to overtake Jason. On lap 6 Jason appeared to miss a gear change coming out of Park corner, so we made a pass on the approach to the fast back esses. From here we put in a clean final lap and won the race by a narrow margin of 0.33 of a second. Joe Walton took second place with Jason Wilkes in third, only 1.85 seconds behind.
After cleaning the many suicidal flies from our visor, we headed out for Mini Sound of Thunder race 1, which was an entertaining race - and provided a great onboard video! After a close race we finished in 3rd place, 0.26 of a second behind 2nd placed Jason Wilkes and only 1.32 seconds behind race winner Joe Walton.
Our worn rear tyre was now starting to squirm, so we took the decision to fit a brand new rear tyre that we had in the van. The timing of our tyre swap was a little out due to a shorter-than-expected lunch break, and by the time the rear tyre had been changed and the warmer was back on the bike, it was only 20 minutes until our next race.
Heading out for Formula Darley race 2 with our brand new and mildly warm rear tyre, we were a little nervous when a light rain sprinkle fell. When the warm-up lap started, it then began raining a lot heavier - so the red flag was shown and we headed back to the paddock to fit our wet tyres. Knowing that we only needed to finish in a Top 6 position to be crowned as champions, we rode a steady and extremely cautious race. After 8 long laps had passed, we crossed the finishing line in 4th position to be crowned as the 2017 Formula Darley champions!
Back into the paddock, we had the chance to have a small celebration! :-)
With the celebrations temporarily on hold, it was time to focus on Mini Sound of Thunder race 2. A few rain showers before the race (as well as a short hailstone shower) meant that there was a variety of tyre choices on the grid. We elected for dry tyres as the racing line appeared dry in most places in the run-up to our race. Then, on the warm-up lap, a new rain shower fell! When the race began we rode conservatively and captured a 3rd place finish. Joe Walton took a narrow victory from Jason Wilkes.
We now have a three-week break (which includes a family holiday abroad) before the final round of the Darley Moor championships - the prestigious "Stars at Darley" event - takes place on Sunday 8th October.
Having been crowned as the Formula Darley champions, we are also in a good position in the Mini Sound of Thunder class and have already guaranteed a Top 2 finish in that championship (being 40 points ahead of 3rd place with only 36 points remaining). A slim 10 point championship lead may mean that the winner of the final Mini Sound of Thunder race could take the championship and with no need to ride conservatively we will be giving it our all.
An ever-faster Jason Wilkes still has the opportunity to grab the runner-up spot in each championship from an on-form Joe Walton, so the final round should certainly be an interesting round! Heading into the final round, the championship point tables look as follows:
FORMULA DARLEY - TOP 5
David Carson 83
Joe Walton 43
Chris Moore 38
Jason Wilkes 24
Jamie Hodson 18
MINI SOUND OF THUNDER - TOP 5
David Carson 69
Joe Walton 59
Jason Wilkes 29
Jack Petrie 25
Stuart Hall 18
David Carson Jnr,