Arriving into a full paddock we managed to setup on the grass nearby to the toilets, bar and viewing spots - it turned out to be a nice location which we would happily repeat if we return in the future. After the usual bout of scrutineering and signing-on, we took part in a track walk and visited the paddock Formula One pub for some refreshments.
Our Personal Best lap time on the ER650 Supertwin was a 1:05.9. After completing the practice sessions we had put in a 1:06.6 on the ZX6R and a 1:07.1 on the RS660 Trofeo, and were becoming more familiar with the circuit layout and gears to use at each corner.
Qualifying sessions were up next - and 20 mins before our session another rain shower arrived! We left the dry tyres in - which turned out to be the right choice - and qualified in 13th place on the Open 600 grid with a 1:03.5, followed by setting pole position (3rd on the combined grid) in the Supertwins class with a 1:03.2.
During the lunch break, Lorna and the girls arrived at the circuit - ready to watch the first round of races for the weekend!
Our first race was Open 600 Race 1. We got a good start but were conservative into the tight first corner, but kept our 13th position on track. From here we learned more about the track, got into a rhythm and reduced our lap time to a 1:02.1. We caught and passed a few people and managed to finish the 12-lap race in 10th position.
Just before we headed to bed, official club photographer Colin Hill presented us with a "Rider of the Round" award for Brands Hatch. Apparently we were supposed to have received this award at Donington Park - but when he came to find us, we had already packed up and left for Darley Moor Round 2...
On the Sunday morning we took part in a practice session on the ZX6R to get up to speed, before it was time for Open 600 Race 2. Finishing in 10th place in Race 1 gave us grid slot 10 for this race, which was a decent improvement.
A decent start saw us move up into 9th position by the end of the opening lap, before moving forward another place on lap 2. We circulated at the head of a mini-group until Blake Shaw came passed on lap 7. We held our place until the final lap when Blake unfortunately crashed on the exit of the first corner, then held off a hard-charging Mark Walker to finish the race in a Personal Best 8th position!
After a short wait it was time for Supertwins Race 2. Once again we failed to take benefit from our good grid position and dropped to 10th position on the opening lap. Joe Thomas took to the grass at 100+mph at the end of the opening lap, which put us into the lead of the Supertwin class. From here we again worked hard to move through the field and got to 5th on track - but importantly we had taken the Supertwin win, with Steve Moody behind us and Edward Giles taking the final podium spot.
We spent the majority of the race in 9th position, before moving up to 8th position on lap 10 of 12. We were in the middle of a 3-rider battle with Ross Walker just in front and Pete Wyatt just behind. We didn't notice the last lap flag, so before we knew it the chequered flag was out and we finished the race in another fabulous 8th position! We even managed to set a new outright PB laptime of 1:02.041. If we had spotted the last-lap flag we may have attempted a manoeuvre, but as we were struggling for grip near the end of the race we were happy that we secured another good result.
To keep up with tradition, we had another poor start - this time relegating us to 11th on track (and 3rd in class) at the end of the opening lap. Despite using different tyres, the track conditions felt very similar to the 600 race and the Traction Control was continually kicking in - even on Setting 2. We managed to move up to 2nd in class and then bridged the gap to Steve Moody, who was running quicker than he had all weekend. After following Steve for nearly 5 laps, we made a pass on lap 7 of 12 and then managed to move up to 6th on track by the end of the race - making it 3 wins from 3 starts in the Supertwin class!
NG Supertwin Championship Standings (Top 5)
1st - David Carson 181
2nd - Steve Moody 161
3rd - Edward Giles 124
4th - Craig Neve 50
5th - Louis Dawson 50
NG Open 600 Championship Standings (Nearest)
10th - Bevan Plumley 53
11th - Cameron Hall 50
12th - David Carson 44
13th - Fabio Dalle Fratte 43
14th - Mark Walker 38
It is also the halfway point of the season for Darley Moor (in terms of race weekends - 3 down, 3 to go - but only 3 of 8 rounds have been completed so far), the Darley Moor championship standings look as follows:
Twins Championship Standings (Top 5)
1st - David Carson 30
2nd - Chris Barton 22
3rd - Richard Saville 20
4th - Andy Whale 15
5th - Jim Barnett 12
Formula 600 Championship Standings (Top 5)
1st - Ben Dale 31
2nd - Richard Cooper 30
3rd - Albert Walker 22
4th - David Carson 18
5th - James Ford 13
There are no further conflicts in our 2022 racing calendar, so fortunately we don't need to make any more difficult choices. Our next race meeting will be back at Darley Moor, at the Round 4/5 double-header on 2nd/3rd July. Before then we have the delayed Darley Moor 2021 Awards Doo to attend, where we will collect our two "vice-champion" runner-up trophies! :-)