Here are some photos from the penultimate Darley Moor meeting of 2019, taken by official Darley photographer Tony Else...
After a lengthy summer break, where the 'Two Daves' headed across to Portugal to watch the World Superbikes at the Portimao circuit, we headed back to Darley Moor for Round 6 of the club championships.
On the Saturday afternoon we travelled to the circuit and setup, then spent the evening socialising with some of our fellow competitors. After a quick brew, of course...
The Mini Sound of Thunder qualifying session was cut short after Stall Racing's Stuart Hall (riding a new-to-him Suzuki Supertwin) tangled handlebars with his friend Ross Williams into Townleys corner on the 2nd flying lap. After a short break we were let back onto track for three laps - which was enough for us to qualify pole in class (6th on the combined grid).
In the Formula 600 qualifying session we struggled to put together a clean lap and to break the 1-minute barrier, but managed to qualify 2nd on the grid - but over 1.5 seconds behind the pole-setting time set by championship leader Rich Baker.
Our first race of the day was the Formula 600 'qualifying' race. We made a fantastic start and managed to stay with race-leader Rich Baker for the first two laps - but by pushing beyond our comfort levels we were making mistakes and our lap times varied between 58 and 60 second laps. At the end of lap 4 Joe Walton then relegated us to 3rd place, where we remained until the chequered flag.
The Mini Sound of Thunder grid took a hit throughout this meeting - with two thirds of the riders that entered the meeting not finishing the final points race!
The Mini Sound of Thunder 'qualifying' race was entertaining and makes the first 3.5 minutes of the onboard video great viewing. By the end of the first lap we were leading our class. We then proceeded to move through the field until we reached 2nd place overall. We won the race from Stuart Fitton and Richard Hunt.
On the sighting lap of the Formula 600 'points' race, light rain started to fall. With some uncertainty regarding the level of grip available, we started slowly and gradually increased our speed. Unfortunately this meant that we slipped back to 4th place by the end of the lap 2. By lap 4 we were feeling more comfortable and set the 2nd-fastest lap of the race in an attempt to catch the leading trio of Rich Baker, Joe Walton and David Shallcross.
On lap 5 we were another 0.3 of a second quicker by the time we got to the back esses, but then at Townleys corner all three of the leading riders fell in an unfortunate incident. A subsequent incident involving Steve Price and Lee Smith also followed at the same corner, bringing the fallen rider count to five. Understandably, the red flag was shown. After a tense waiting period we learned that no life threatening injuries had been sustained - but some bones had been broken. We would like to extend our wishes to all injured riders and hope to see them back on track soon!
With the leading trio classified as "non-finishers", by default we were classified as the race winner! This is our first ever Formula 600 race win, but wasn't awarded in the way we would have preferred...
The delay in proceedings allowed the circuit to dry fully - but on the sighting lap of the Mini Sound of Thunder 'points' race, the sky darkened and another rain shower began. With the continuing shower, low light and a tinted visor, it wasn't possible to properly see just how wet the circuit was - which made the question of "how fast can we go?" very difficult to answer.
In the end we took the class lead and then monitored the gap to 2nd place to secure the win! Stuart Fitton took second place, with Richard Hunt taking the final podium spot.
There is just one race meeting left in our 2019 season (and in the Darley Moor club championships), which will award double-points.
Following this meeting we not only confirmed as the 2019 Mini Sound of Thunder champions, but we have also guaranteed ourselves a Top-2 championship finish in the Formula 600 class. There is only a 5-point-gap in the battle for the Formula 600 championship, so all will be decided at the final round...
FORMULA 600 - TOP 5
Rich Baker 66
David Carson 61
David Shallcross 28
David Glossop 23
Matt Zschiesche 18
MINI SOUND OF THUNDER - TOP 5
David Carson 92
Richard Hunt 34
Richard Saville 22
Alistair Corr 18
Mike Gittings 16
David Carson Jnr,