Here are some photos from the opening Darley Moor meeting of 2020, taken by official Darley photographer Tony Else...
We'll start with some great news - following our recent announcement advising that we have reached 100 club race wins, we are now proud to announce that we have won a club race in each of the past four decades - 1990s, 2000s, 2010s & 2020s :-)
The planned Round 5 of the Darley Moor championship became the opening round of the non-championship 2020 Darley Moor season. In a COVID-friendly way we arrived and setup on Friday evening, next to fellow Northwich rider Tim Poole, before going for a track walk in the evening.
Saturday hosted a 6-session test day. Once out onto track we noticed that the new 180/60 profile rear tyre that was fit at the No Limits Oulton Park meeting had increased overall gearing by 2.86% compared to the former 180/55 profile tyre, so we added 1 tooth to the rear sprocket to reduce the gearing by 2.17% - this resulted in an overall 0.67% higher gearing than when we attended the Loose Cannon Darley Moor track day in July, but seemed to be OK. With three sessions completed and everything working as it should, we decided to park up the Supersport machine for the day.
After the lunch break we took the Supertwin out for a session. Apart from a minor adjustment to the front brake biting point, everything felt fine so we also parked that bike up for the day and then went through scruitineering/signon and prepared both bikes ready for the Sunday qualifying sessions.
On Saturday evening we went for another track walk and managed to catch some photos of the circuit looking quite pretty!
The arrival of race day brought a choice - with two bikes but only one GoPro camera available following the demise of a camera at Oulton Park. As we had more races on the Supertwin we decided to run the camera on that bike. As it happened, the more interesting footage would have been captured during the Formula 600 races - but my crystal ball let me down once again... ;-)
Our order of "on track action" for the day was: Supertwin, Supersport, Supertwin, Supersport, Supertwin, Supersport, Supertwin - so it couldn't be more varied! Out into the first qualifying session and we struggled to find a clear lap in the Twins session - but our best lap of 1'03.81 was enough to be fastest in class, albeit 5th on the combined starting grid. The Formula 600 qualifying went better but (for whatever reason) we weren't really feeling it and only managed to post a 59.92 - but this turned out to be good enough for 3rd place on the grid, which made us feel better.
Our first race of the weekend was also the first race of the day (and the year!) in the 10-lap Allcomers race. For this race the grid positions are pulled "out of a hat" and we managed to pull Pole Position for the opening race of the year, ahead of 17 other competitors - long may our good luck continue! ;-)
Following a good start, we moved into the race lead on the approach to Park corner on the opening lap and then just lapped as fast as we could - picking up the fastest lap of the race along the way. After 10 laps we won the race by 35.50 seconds and had lapped everyone up to 7th position.
The next race was Formula 600 Race 1, which directly followed the Kart race. Due to a kart being recovered we spent an extended amount of time in the assembly area before getting onto track. When the race started an unfortunate crash occurred at the Wilson's chicane involving Jason Wilkes and Jamie Horner which brought out the red flag. Jason was taken to hospital as he had a number of injuries - including a broken toe and fractured cheekbones. All of us at Two Daves Racing would like to wish Jason a quick recovery!
When the race was restarted, the sighting lap did not provide enough time for our tyres to warm properly, so we sacrificed the first two laps to ensure everything was back up to temperature before we started pushing on - unfortunately this meant that we dropped back to 6th position. On the last lap we tried to make up some positions but it was all too little too late. A last-corner, last-lap tussle with David Glossop saw us crossing the finishing line in exactly the same time - classifying us with a joint 5th place finish. One glimmer of hope was that we were one of only 3 racers that lapped in under a minute.
After a gap of just one race, we were back out on track in Twins Race 1. This was a fairly lonely race where we settled into a '5th place on track' position with some PreInjection 600 guys ahead of us. At the end of the 6-lap race there was a 7-second gap ahead of us and a 7-second gap behind us! We took the win and the fastest lap for the Twins class from Richard Hunt in 2nd and James Barnett in 3rd.
Once into the lunch break we had a visit from Dave Graham who dropped off some KitKat Chunky bars - which made the day even sweeter :-)
Out into the 8-lap Formula 600 Race 2 and we got involved in a group battle once more, which made it a struggled for us to put in clean laps. We retained our 5th place starting position for the first 4 laps, before moving passed Tim Walsh on lap 5 into 4th place, just behind Ben Rea. Following Ben Rea was tough as he's lighter and accelerated more quickly than us (ahem, I blame COVID lockdown for the additional ballast...), but on the last lap we made a decent enough exit from the hairpin that we were able to make a scruffy but successful pass at the last corner to cross the line in 3rd place!
Our final race of the day was Twins Race 2, where we were able to create a gap and then take a comfortable win by 14 seconds from Richard Hunt in 2nd, with Anthony Thane taking the final podium spot.
Unlike in 2019, this season trophies were given for the first races of the day - so we walked away with a couple of 1st place trophies. It has been a great return to Darley Moor!
Our next race meeting will also be our final race meeting of the 2020 season - at the two-day race meeting of Darley Moor Rounds 6 & 7 on Saturday/Sunday 10th-11th October 2020.
David Carson Jnr,