Here are some more photos from the fifth round of the Darley Moor championships, taken by the talented Kevin Gunstone. His photos from the meeting are available here.
Here are some photos from the fifth round of the Darley Moor championships, taken by official Darley photographer Tony Else...
Round 5 of the Darley Moor club championships unfortunately clashed with the final round of the NG Road Racing championships at Cadwell Park, so we had to make a choice as to where to race - which was difficult as we were doing well in the championships with both clubs. We would just have to wait until the end of the weekend to see how things worked out...
Arriving on the Saturday afternoon during a heat wave (some call it summer!) we casually setup - opposite the FHO Racing squad who were making a guest appearance - and then settled into watch some MotoGP and WorldSBK action on TV.
When Sunday race day arrived the weather turned and light rain showers fell for most of the day. Prior to the start of the 10am Twins qualifying session the rain was very light and wasn't sticking, but once out on track it quickly got heavier (very similar what happened at Darley Moor Round 4) so we only did a couple of laps and pulled in.
Learning from the last meeting we then promptly switched the Kawasaki Supersport machine to wet tyres - this meant that we missed half of the qualifying session but was the right choice. We qualified in 4th on the combined grid for the 700cc Twins (3rd in class), in 3rd for the Darley Cup and in 2nd for the Formula 600.
Our first race of the day was Darley Cup Race 1. A good start saw us take the hole shot into the Wilsons chicane on the opening lap, but as we had new front brake pads and a new dry rear tyre to bed in, we were quite tentative on the first couple of laps. We expected that we may get challenged on these laps but we manage to stay in front and kept the lead for the entire 8-lap race, eventually winning by 14.65 seconds. During the race the quickshifter stopped working, so we had to manually shift gears - which was nostalgic!
With everything now nicely scrubbed in we headed out for Formula 600 Race 1. An OK start saw us enter the Wilsons chicane in 3rd position, before moving past Chris Stuart on the exit of Park corner and then when Jack Worth overshot into Paddock corner on the opening lap we managed to take the lead. The quickshifter was still not working but we kept the lead for five laps, albeit not feeling overly confident with the constant rain drizzle. On lap 6 Mark Goodings took the lead on the entry to the hairpin. We tailed him home to finish in 2nd place.
The last race before the lunch beak was Twins Race 1, where the rain drizzle had returned once again. A poor start saw us enter the Wilsons chicane in 5th position in the combined race, which is where we finished the opening lap. On lap 2 we managed to pass Aprilia-mounted Tim Walsh on the run to the back esses and then Adam Sheriff (PreElectronic 600) along the Pope Straight. On lap 3 we then used the power advantage of our Aprilia to pass Josh Froggatt on his fairly-stock Suzuki SV650 before taking the race lead outright on the entry to Paddock corner by passing Nick Clare (PreElectronic 600). From here we circulated safely but never really felt committed due to the conditions. This was a race where it felt like the bike did more of the work than we did! Despite getting caught up with backmarkers on the final lap we managed to take the win.
During the lunch break we investigated the broken quickshifter and found that the live power lead wire had snapped from the battery terminal connector. With a new connector attached - and a quick test on the paddock stand - we deemed it functional once again!
Onto the 'final' 10-lap races (where points and trophies are awarded) and first up was Darley Cup Race 2. The rain drizzle was still falling and we were still running on dry tyres. A quick drop of the lights caught us out and we bogged the bike and got a poor start, entering the Wilsons chicane in 7th position (from our pole position start!).
On the opening lap we went up to 6th position, then down to 7th, then back up to 6th - finishing the opening lap 4 seconds behind the race leader. On lap 2 we moved past Josh Froggatt to take 5th position and by the end of lap 3 we were on the back of a group of riders. We remained in 5th position until we were able to make a move on Andrew Herd into Park corner on lap 7 - but by now were 4.42 behind the race leader. On lap 8 we managed to pass Adam Green into Park corner to take 3rd position, then on lap 9 - at Park corner again - we overtook Stephen England to move into 2nd position.
At the start of lap 9 there was a 2.80 gap to race-leader Chris Stuart which seemed unsurmountable, but we pushed on regardless. Entering the final lap the gap to Chris had reduced to 1.52 seconds and by the end of the Pope straight we were on his back wheel. On the run to the line Chris starting celebrating early, but we kept it pinned and managed to sneak the win by just 0.02 of a second!
The weather finally decided to brighten up for Formula 600 Race 2. A decent start saw us enter the Wilsons chicane in 2nd position behind Jack Worth. On the entry to the hairpin we were gently nudged out of the way by Mark Goodings on his Yamaha R6, which ran us wide and we were demoted to 4th position. We managed to claw back a position on the brakes into Paddock corner, then on the exit of Park corner Mark Goodings unexpectedly waved us through (which was a nice gesture) which elevated us back into 2nd position.
On lap 3 we overtook Jack Worth at Park corner to take the lead. We then did a series of laps in the 59-second bracket, but it ultimately wasn't quick enough as Mark Goodings came past us at the start of lap 6. We managed to squeeze a little more speed out of ourselves and set a couple of 58-second laps - including the fastest lap of the race - but at the chequered flag we finished in 2nd place, 1.03 seconds behind Mark. Jack Worth took the final podium spot.
The weather saved its best until last, with the sun deciding to shine down on track for our (and the) final race of the day, Twins Race 2. A poor start saw us enter the Wilsons chicane in 4th position on track (2nd in class), before Tim Walsh demoted us to 5th on track (3rd in class) at Park corner. We managed to retake 4th position on the brakes into Paddock corner on the opening lap and then set after the leading trio.
On lap 2 we made a move on the brakes into Paddock corner to pass Nick Clare, then passed both Adam Sheriff and Josh Froggatt on lap 3 to take the overall race lead - despite running across the grass at the back esses during that lap. Once into the lead we put in some steady 1'01 laps which we thought should have been enough to maintain a lead. On lap 7 we had a look behind and saw that Adam Sheriff was on our rear wheel, so dropped our lap times into the 1'00s to extend a 3.04 second victory gap at the chequered flag.
With another 42 (out of a possible 45) championship points captured this weekend, we have extended our championship lead in two classes and remain in 2nd place of the Formula 600 class. There are 30 championship points still available in each championship:
Darley Cup Championship (Top 5)
1st: David Carson 60
2nd: Adam Green 41
3rd: Stephen England 40
4th: Matthew Rostron 29
5th: Mark Goodings 20
700cc Twins Championship (Top 5)
1st: David Carson 60
2nd: Ben Wilkinson 40
3rd: Anthony Thane 37
4th: Andy Whale 24
5th: Matthew Birks 20
Formula 600 Championship (Top 5)
1st: Mark Goodings 46
2nd: David Carson 39
3rd: Jack Worth 31
4th: Matthew Rostron 29
5th: Adam Green 28
But let's not forget about the NG Road Racing championships that also concluded on the same day. Considering that we competed in 13 of the 21 scheduled races, we are pleased with our finishing positions. We slipped from 2nd in the Supertwins championship to 3rd, but kept our 5th position in the Open 600 championship.
NG Road Racing - Supertwins Championship (Top 5)
1st: Brody Crockford 293
2nd: Edward Giles 230
3rd: David Carson 215
4th: Steve Moody 209
5th: William Holland 124
NG Road Racing - Open 600 Championship (Top 7)
1st: George Edwards 389
2nd: Ricky Elder 369
3rd: Michael Rees 199
4th: Jed Bird 172
5th: David Carson 142
6th: Aaron Matthews 83
7th: John Marsh 81
With this great weekend behind us, we now only have one weekend of racing left in our 2023 season - the prestigious "Stars at Darley" meeting on Saturday/Sunday 7th/8th October.
David Carson Jnr,