Here are some photos from the opening round of the Darley Moor championships, taken by official Darley photographer Tony Else...
The Darley Moor season is upon us once again! And the good news for us is that, following completion of all preparation activities, we got to ride our new toy - the Aprilia Racing RS660 Trofeo!
We were once again graced with dry (but cold) weather conditions for the two days on track, with a Saturday test day and Sunday race day making up the weekend's activities.
Saturday Test Day
We pulled the bikes out of the van and gasped in horror when we saw the water temperature reading on the Aprilia RS660 show just 1C! Fortunately, the water in both bikes resisted the almost freeing temperatures and they escaped unscathed. Our first job of the day was to put the RS660 through the noise test (as it was the only machine being used on the test day), so we switched on the bike and pressed the starter button and... nothing happened! No starter motor whizzed into life, no noises were heard and nothing changed on the dashboard... After switching the machine off and on a few times Dave Snr coaxed the machine into life! Since then everything has run smoothly, so we're not sure what happened there - but we hope it never returns!
Out onto track and we needed to run the calibration procedure for the A-PRC system (Traction Control, Wheelie Control, Quickshifter, etc). The safest way we could think to perform this was to do an out lap and then run the calibration procedure on the paddock return road. So we hopped on the new bike for the very first time, briefly commented on how tall it felt, then went out onto track.
On the approach to the circuit exit we learned that the relevant menu cannot be accessed when the machine is moving - so briefly stopped on the return road, found the menu, kicked off the procedure, held the bike at the required speed, then immediately turned off the bike (whilst still moving) and waited for the stated 60+ seconds before restarting the machine. This gap left just enough time for us to be told off for stopping in a precarious location! Oops!! With all of messing around (or rather, necessary configuration) we performed, we only managed to put in a single flying lap - so didn't learned much more about the new bike except that the quickshifter worked and all of the levers were in an acceptable location.
We decided to use the second session to become more accustomed with the new bike. We set all riding aids to maximum (Wheelie Control on, Traction Control on Level 8) with the view to reducing them until they didn't hinder us. On the first lap, we exited the hairpin and once fully upright cracked opened the throttle... The bike coughed and spluttered and the dashboard lit up like a Christmas tree! After a few seconds it dawned on us that the rider aids were being activated - they were a lot more easily invoked than we expected! Fortunately, the Traction Control settings can be adjusted on-the-fly, so we turned the setting down to level 7, then 6, then 5, and then settled on level 4. Following the changes, only when getting a decent drive from the hairpin (but only the hairpin) would the dashboard lights flash, so we thought that might be due to the Wheelie Control activating - we turned that off for the following session and it fixed the issue.
Next up was testing our preferences for the Engine Braking and Engine Map settings. In all honesty, we tested all three settings for both options but couldn't really tell a massive difference between them. At the time we were a couple of seconds off our usual pace, so that might have been the reason. It might be something to revisit in the future - but we don't think there is much performance to be gained from changing these settings.
Prior to our final session we double-checked that the "out of the box" suspension settings matched Aprilia's recommendation sheet, which they did except for on the fork rebound. For anyone interested, we ended up with the Engine Map set to level 2, the Engine Braking set to level 2, the Traction Control set to level 4 (reduced to level 3 by the end of the weekend) and the Wheelie Control switched off. With no big changes or configurations to test, we used this session to just ride and get used to the bike. By the end of the session we put in a 1:01.66 lap, which was just over half a second slower than our PB lap on the Kawasaki Supertwin which we've run for the past 9 seasons - which was a great indication of the bike's potential, especially as the sprocket ratio was so high that we were only able to run 5 gears down the half-kilometre-long Pope Straight!
Sunday Race Day
The Sunday started cold but the sun was occasionally shining! Our first qualifying session, for the Twins, was the second session on track. The air temperature was 6C so we didn't want to do anything too silly on a cold track. Once out on track we found there was a lot of traffic, so when we came across some free space we put in a decent lap of 1:02.09 to qualify 2nd on the grid. 2021 Darley Moor Formula 600 champion Albert Walker acquired the 2018 Darley Moor Twins championship winning machine over the winter break and was running very well on it. He took pole position with a 1:01.71 lap. Darley Moor regular Ian Robinson was also running an Aprilia RS660 for the first time at this meeting and qualified with a 1:06.01.
For the Formula 600 qualifying session we had a new pair of tyres to scrub in so took it easy for the first few laps. British-championship (and "Stars at Darley") regulars Richard Cooper and Milo Ward were competing in our class today. Half-way through the session Milo came passed so we (unsuccessfully) tried to hang on, but we did manage to qualify 3rd on the grid - ahead of all the other club regulars!
Next up was the first race of the Darley Moor season (and our first ever race on the Aprilia Racing RS660 Trofeo). We picked a 19th grid position "out of the hat" and then had shocking start! All weekend we had been warned that the RS660 can be difficult to launch, but we'd had some spirited launches on the test day so thought that it wouldn't be a problem... We now know differently! As the Allcomers contains a variety of machines - and most are slower than a brand new Factory-built racer - despite the awful start we were able to move up to 5th position by the end of the opening lap, then into 3rd position at the end of lap 2 (of 10 laps). Unfortunately, by this point the race leaders were 5.16 seconds up the road - so we decided to use the race to get some more seat-time and become more familiar with the bike.
We put in clean laps, got more comfortable, and it turned out that we were set new Personal Best lap time after new Personal Best lap time - with a best of an incredible 1:00.41! We caught up to the back wheel of leaders Jim Hodson and Albert Walker by the end of lap 7 and moved into 2nd place at the end of lap 8. With our overgeared machine we were able to match the ER650 speed on the straights but couldn't gain on them (but hopefully at Round 2 that will change!). We followed Albert and were thinking hard about where to attempt a pass, when he hit a false neutral on the entry to the hairpin on the final lap and ran wide to allow us through. From there we were able to take the win on our first ride - the thing that dreams are made of! The comeback through the field makes for a great onboard video...
Formula 600 Race 1 was next. From our front-row grid spot we had a disappointing start to finish the opening lap in 5th place, but managed to move passed Liam Weston on the second lap to move up to 4th position, where we remained until Ben Dale crashed out of the race at Park corner on lap 5. That elevated us to 3rd place, just ahead of a hard-charging Milo Ward in 4th. We crossed the line in 3rd place!
After a short gap it was time for Twins Race 1. Our race start went from "appalling" to "average" (which is at least an improvement!) as we were still trying to figure out how to launch the new bike. But we lost a lot less time at the start and were able to move into the race lead on the opening lap. We then tried to put in clean laps, which we did until the final lap, when we overshot into Park corner and thought we were heading into the gravel. Fortunately we were able to haul up the bike in time, then had our quick look behind us. Albert Walker was around a second behind, so we managed to get away with our mistake and take the win! We also secured the fastest lap of the race with a 1:00.94.
After the lunch break we were back with Formula 600 Race 2. A great start saw us finish the opening lap in 3rd place, just behind the 2nd-placed Stephen Parsons. We tagged onto Stephen in an attempt to move up another spot - but I wasn't alone - and what ensued was a 4-rider battle for the runner-up spot involving us, Stephen, Albert Walker and Milo Ward. The group was eventually split up on lap 7 (of 8) by unfortunate timing of a backmarker. A highly entertaining and hard-fought race, we would eventually finished 4th on track - however, as double-winner Richard Cooper decided to not be classified in the championship results, we managed to walk away with a 3rd place trophy for our efforts!
The final race of the day was Twins Race 2. With upcoming Isle of Man TT commitments Jim Hodson decided not to race. Fellow RS660-racer Ian Robinson retired after the sighting lap due to quickshifter issues. We finally got a decent start and got the holeshot and then led the race from flag-to-flag - but that doesn't tell the entire story. Once in the lead we put in consistent laps around the 1:01-mark knowing that in Twins Race 1 the other riders were averaging 1:01.3 laps - so thought that would be enough.
On lap 5 (of 8), we took a look behind to see whether we had created a gap but Albert Walker was right on our back wheel! With this knowledge we then increased the pace and reduced our lap times, putting in a race fastest lap of 1:00.50, which was enough to take the win! After crossing the line and arriving to Park corner on the cooldown lap, we saw Albert waving at us from behind the fence - it turned out that he had unfortunately fallen on lap 7 whilst chasing us. The pace was so hot that we won the race by 34.83 seconds and broke the Twins race record which has been in place since 2014!
To summarise, it has been a great debut weekend for the new bike - 3 wins from 3 starts! Backing that up with decent Formula 600 results has made this a fantastic experience. Looking back to our pre-season aims for Darley Moor, we have already made great progress as we have moved up to 2nd in our "Fastest Twin Laps of All Time" ranking. Albert Walker has now entered the ranking after his seriously impressive performances this weekend.
We don't have to wait long until our next outing, which is at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit with NG Road Racing on the weekend of 22nd-24th April. Except for the fitment of an R&G radiator guard (which has now arrived) there will be no machine changes occurring before that meeting.
As a closing remark we would just like to thank everyone for the interest shown in the new machine over the weekend. We don't think we have ever received so many visitors before - but it was great to talk bikes with everyone! It seems that people are interested to hear about the development journey we are embarking on with the Aprilia Racing RS660 Trofeo, so we'll continue to share more information as and when we learn it! :-)
It has now been two weeks since our Aprilia Racing RS660 Trofeo landed on our driveway, just before we departed to race at NG Oulton Park. We are glad to announce that our preparation is now complete and that the bike is ready to race! Here is the story of how we got there...
Our first job was to arrange for the required 300km of run-in to be completed. Fortunately, 59km of the initial run-in had already been completed by Aprilia Factory prior to the machine's departure - the remainder of the run-in was completed by OTC Dyno Centre in Widnes. Following the run-in, several "full power" dyno runs were performed - including "baffle vs no baffle" (which interestingly made minimal difference) and a true back-to-back comparison against our own Kawasaki ER650 Supertwin (straight as it was from Oulton Park).
The Aprilia is stronger than our ER650 everywhere except for 7000-8000rpm and has a healthy 10+bhp more at the top end :-) The fuelling, however, is very rich - this should mean that the initial throttle touch should be nice but also that there is possibly potential for tweaking out even more power.
We haven't rushed out to have the RS660 fuelling adjusted yet as we believe that there are quicker initial changes that can make a bigger impact. One of these areas is the final drive ratios (i.e. sprockets). All versions of the RS660 come equipped as standard with 17\43 sprockets. It is worth pointing out that along with our new machine, Aprilia Factory also provided a USB key containing 15 PDFs and an Excel file - to assist with the setup and maintenance of the machine. According to Aprilia's own information, this 17\43 combination will reach 162.92mph on the 11500rpm limit in top gear - a much higher speed than we are ever likely to see on UK circuits.
So we set about finding new sprockets to lower the ratio - and found that there is a distinct shortage of sprockets available! Eventually, we managed to find a 16-tooth front sprocket in USA (at Warhorse HSBK Racing) - which was shipped to our "Uncle Bill" in North Carolina who then forwarded it onto us - and we thought we found a 45-tooth sprocket in the UK, so ordered that only to be later told they had no stock...
The good news is that the well-travelled 16-tooth front sprocket has arrived, so the machine is now fit with 16\43 gearing (and is still good for 153.29mph in top gear) until more options become available. Following the fitment we checked the wheel alignment to ensure that everything was laser-straight!
When the bike arrived (and when it was at the dyno), the dash was set to Italian language. Once we managed to figure out how to access the "main menu" - which is accessed by press-and-hold a button to get to a screen, and then press-and-hold a button to get to the menu - we changed the language to English and checked out all of the available options. We also played around with the adjustable maps.
Our next job was to change the gear shift pattern from "race" to "road". The RS660 has both a quickshifter and blipper (which can be switched on/off in the menu), so we followed the configuration process in order for the ECU to recognise our preferred sequence.
The final changes we made were small ones - changing the clutch and front brake lever positions, so that they feel more natural.
Next up on the list were the mandatory safety essentials - draining coolant and replacing with water and lockwiring. It is unusual for us to have a brand new machine (that someone else hasn't already raced), so we took our time figuring out how we wanted the lockwiring to run, so that it was tidy.
We started with the main oil drain (carefully from two directions) so that lockwire could easily pass through, before deciding to drill a sump bolt in order to allow a very neat solution to that particular problem.
The oil filter was a relatively simple affair. A new 60-80mm hose clamp was acquired, then closed to desired diameter and the excess tail trimmed off (and filed for smooth corners). This was lockwired to an existing hole on a radiator support bracket.
The final item to be secured was the oil dipstick. This was drilled so that an R-clip could be attached. A nearby hose bracket was then drilled to lockwire against. Finally, the lockwire was covered in electrical shrink tube for a neat finish.
GoPro Camera Mount
Over the past decade we have mounted onboard cameras in a variety of locations - some easily satisfying the requirements of a club's scrutineer, others not so much. One piece of knowledge we have gained over the years is that "behind the screen" is a 'safe' place for a camera to be situated (rather than attached to the top yoke, situated on the front fairing, situated on the front mudguard, etc).
An issue we also found with our Kawasaki's is that the onboard camera blocks our view to the majority of the dashboard - something else we would like to avoid if possible! Following a lot of head scratching - and the creation of a rough mock-up - it was decided that a suitable mount could be created.
A piece of 10mmx40mm aluminium was our starting point. Two 5mm holes were drilled (20mm apart) and then tapped to M6 thread. Two further holes were then drilled to attach an alloy GoPro mount, before all excess material was then removed. The sturdy plastic dash cover was drilled, then a pair of black stainless screws (covered in threadlock) secured the new mount to the dash cover. We think it is another tidy solution to a problem that has plagued us for years!
Aim Solo Mount
We ordered and paid for an AiM Solo2 DL (with CAN bus connection) around 5 weeks ago. Due to the global semiconductor chip shortage, AiM are running behind schedule and are yet to deliver their flagship GPS laptimer to us. However, as we already have an "old" AiM Solo GPS laptimer, we can still take advantage of onboard laptiming until the new unit arrives.
As with the GoPro mount, we did not want our view to be obscured, so decided to make use of a hollow top yoke nut to mount the laptimer to. This was made from aluminium so that it was fairly light - it was shaped to avoid any issues and minimise the required material. As a bonus, with no laptimer fitted, the bracket reminds us of "Homepride Fred"...
With everything now mounted, we continue to have a clear view of the Aprilia dashboard & will still be able to capture all of the data and onboard footage that we have become accustomed to :-)
All that was left was to make the personal touches to make this bike feel like ours! Stickers and race numbers were measured up, ordered and applied.
New race tyres were purchased and fit at short notice by Ian Mackman - thanks for your help! With the rules for Darley Moor "Twins" and NG "Supertwins" allowing slicks, we decided to try some. As the start of the year is usually quite cool we opted for some Metzeler Racetec TD slicks (in 120/70 and 180/60). For wets we would have gladly fitted some Bridgestone W01 tyres - but we could not find any for sale - so instead opted for some Continental ContiRace Attack Rain tyres (in 120/70 and 180/55).
For the brake pads, we bought some of EBC's GPFAX pads which we like the feel of. We then discovered that the RS660 Trofeo comes fitted with the excellent (but expensive) Brembo Z04 pads! So they will gladly remain in the machine until consumed. Talking of brakes, we must mention that the HEL brake line setup that comes on the RS660 Trofeo is very tidy - it's just another little thing on this machine that has impressed us.
Plans For The Future
Due to time constraints (or other reasons), there are additional things that we want to install/test. Some of these are:
* Weigh the machine (including front/rear bias) - Due to "explosafe foam" being installed into the tank by Aprilia Factory (mainly to help stop fuel sloshing from side to side during riding), it is difficult to tell how much fuel is in the tank right now. Our previous measurements of the ER650 Supertwin and ZX6R Supersport machines were performed with 3L of fuel in the tank, so having an equivalent volume in the RS660 Trofeo when measured will provide more useful results.
* Fitment of an R&G radiator guard - at the time of writing we have ordered but not received this. Once received, this will be installed as a precautionary measure against rogue flying objects.
* Fitment of 45-tooth rear sprocket (and/or other options) - Once we have ridden the bike, we will obtain a better view of where we will need to go in terms of gearing. Our initial opinion is that currently we will be overgeared at most UK circuits, even with the 16\43 option.
* Fuelling correction - as the season progresses (and time allows), we may have a piggyback fuelling module installed. If we do, we will let you know the outcome.
* Machine development - with a much greater number of riders using an RS660 in 2022 than in 2021, we have no doubt that performance developments will be made for the RS660 (especially as it can now be used at the IOM TT). We will try to keep track of developments and apply any as we see fit.
Our opening event of the 2022 season was at our local circuit of Oulton Park, for NG Road Racing Round 1. On the day of departure, a special delivery had arrived - our 2022 Aprilia Racing RS660 Trofeo! Look out for further information on this in the near future. After unpacking the new machine, taking lots of photos - and making 'brum brum' noises - we popped it into the garage and then focused on racing our trusty "old" machines at the NG meeting.
Despite usual best preparations, during the short journey to Oulton Park we managed to have our first hiccup of the year - when our caravan spoiler decided to depart company from the top of the caravan! We did keep our eyes peeled for it on the way home, but no joy - we've no idea when it disappeared!
It was great to be back in the paddock after the winter break and it turned out to be a very social meeting! We managed to catch up with Albert Walker, Daniel Nurrish, Andy Boulton, Matt Sayle, Ian Mackman, Simon Smith, Joe Connolly and Jim Hodson. We also managed to introduce ourselves to Dave Hewson and Eric Wilson - and then bombard them with Aprilia RS660 questions!
This was a two-day meeting with a Friday test day and a Saturday race day. On the test day our aim was simply to get back up to speed, so we only rode the Supersport machine. We managed to blow away the winter cobwebs quite quickly and decided to wrap things up for the day after Session 4 - but then after going to spectate we decided to go out again in Session 6.
After being scrutineered and signing on, we performed final prep of the bikes for the Saturday race day and then went for track walk with Albert and Daniel. After the track walk, instead of making some dinner in the caravan, the Two Daves decided to pop to the bar/restaurant for some much-needed nourishment.
A day of racing bikes in the sunshine is fantastic, but to do it in March is even better! The weather was beautiful all day. There was no qualifying for the race day - instead it was formed based on 2021 championship positions, then order of entry. For the Supertwins race we started from 25th on the grid and for the Open 600 race we started from 42nd on the grid. Grids for race 2 were defined by race 1 fastest laps.
Despite there being no qualifying, there were practice sessions so this allowed us to ride the Kawasaki Supertwin for the first time this year, which seemed a lot more unexcitable around the undulating Cheshire circuit than the Supersport machine!
Our first race of the year was Open 600 Race 1. Starting from the back of the grid we advanced rapidly and moved into top 20 by the end of the opening lap. From there we slowly caught and passed a few more riders, eventually crossing the line in 16th position. Our fastest lap of 1.49.804 was just outside our PB time of 1:49.763, which we were happy with considering we were using heavily-worn tyres.
Next up was Supertwins Race 1. From the start of the race we experienced some issues with gear shifting. After identifying that it was the quickshifter not working properly, we worked around it. Another issue was that the clutch was slipping slightly. We battled through to the end of the race, then when the results appeared we were enthused to see that we had finished in 4th place and were circulating around 1 second slower than the race leaders. We thought that maybe we could be competitive in race 2, despite all of the issues encountered.
After the lunch break we had Open 600 Race 2 where we started from a much-improved 16th position on the grid. We got a great start and moved into 13th position, then put in fast laps for as long as possible. The lap timer showed that we could have potentially set a new PB during the race - but lapped traffic started halfway through the 8-lap race and prevented us from completing a clear lap near the end. After being caught by quicker rider, we crossed the line in 14th position and bagged a couple of championship points!
The final race of the day was Supertwin Race 2. Another good start (lets hope these become a recurrence!) meant that we kept our 4th place and kept the leaders in sight. We had a tussle on track with fellow Northwich racers Ian Mackman and Matt Sayle (who were sharing the track but were in different race classes) whilst closing the gap and we moved into 3rd position at the end of lap 3. By the end of lap 5 (of a planned 8 laps), we were only 0.5sec behind the Aprilia RS660 of Dave Hewson, who was just 0.6sec behind the Aprilia RS660 of race leader Steve Moody.
At Shell Oils Corner on lap 6 we moved into 2nd place, then started to close the gap on the race leader... Unfortunately, going through Clay Hill on lap 6 the red flag was shown - which halted proceedings and set the race finishing positions as at the end of lap 5, meaning that we were classified in 3rd place. This was a great result and meant that we obtained our first trophy of the 2022 racing season. We also managed to set a new Supertwin PB lap time of 1:54.003 (and were set to be quicker on lap 6 - which is encouraging).
Leaving the circuit it was easy to remember why we love motorcycle racing so much. A day like today when you make personal advancements makes all of the time/effort/money invested seem worthwhile! :-)
Our plan now is to prepare the Aprilia Factory RS660 Trofeo so that it is ready to race, fit some new tyres to the Kawasaki Supersport machine and, erm, do some repairs to the caravan! The next race meeting is the Darley Moor Test & Round 1 on the weekend of 9th/10th April.
A while has passed since our last race meeting (and it is less than two months until the start of our 2022 season), so we thought we would provide an update of what has been going on behind the scenes over the "winter off-season"...
2022 ACU Licence & Race Dates
We have renewed our Darley Moor and NG Road Racing club memberships along with our National race licence, which enabled us to plan our list of meetings for the season ahead:
2022 Race Dates
Friday/Saturday 25th/26th March - NG Road Racing Round 1 (Oulton Park)
Saturday/Sunday 9th/10th April - Darley Moor Round 1
Friday-Sunday 22nd-24th April - NG Road Racing Round 2 (Brands Hatch Indy)
Friday/Saturday 13th/14th May - NG Road Racing Round 3 (Donington Park)
Sunday 15th May - Darley Moor Round 2
Sunday 12th June - Darley Moor Round 3
Friday 24th June - Darley Moor 2021 Awards Ceremony
Saturday/Sunday 2nd/3rd July - Darley Moor Rounds 4 & 5
Friday-Sunday 8th-10th July - NG Road Racing Round 5 (Cadwell Park)
Friday-Sunday 19th-21st August - NG Road Racing Round 6 (Castle Combe)
Sunday 11th September - Darley Moor Round 6
Friday-Sunday 16th-18th September - NG Road Racing Round 7 (Anglesey)
Saturday/Sunday 8th/9th October - Darley Moor Rounds 7 & 8 (including "Stars at Darley")
New Race Machine - Aprilia Factory RS660 Trofeo
As previously mentioned, a new machine will be joining us early in 2022 - the expected delivery slot remains as March/April 2022. Once the new machine arrives there will be some prep required prior to taking it out on track, so we will happily document that along the way!
Machine Maintenance - Kawasaki Supersport and Supertwin
Both of these race machines will remain in the same specification for the 2022 season. After the final 2021 race meeting we stripped down both machines, cleaned them and serviced them - so they are both ready for action! The Kawasaki Supertwin will be used prior to the Aprilia Factory RS660 Trofeo machine arriving, as well as if ever required as a backup machine.
They say that "whatever space you have you will eventually fill"... and we had eventually got to that point! So in order to make some extra room, we decided to acquire a new 12x8ft "workshop style" shed. A new sturdy base was laid, the shed was installed, and then we set to work adding lighting & racking before moving all "non-race equipment" into the shed - in the neatest way possible of course :-)
Now that our 28x8ft workshop/garage contained less "stuff", we set about reorganising the space so that it was a nicer place to work in. Our 1996 Aprilia RS125SP was temporarily removed from its vac-bag home and we were pleasantly surprised to see it looking as splendid as when we put it away.
The space has been organised to allow maximum focus on the two race machines we will be using, therefore, all necessary tools/consumables are readily available within the "race prep" space. The Aprilia RS125SP (and following delivery of the RS660 Trofeo, the Kawasaki Supertwin) find a new home underneath the Two Daves Racing banner.
Thanks for your support!
Since this website went live at the start of 2013, we are proud to announce that we have received a fantastic 115,481 page views from 43,543 web sessions (by 32,315 unique visitors). The figures for our YouTube channel are just as impressive with 59,312 video views (covering 126,000+ minutes) for the 335 videos we have uploaded - which is even more impressive considering that since 2015 our Darley Moor onboard race videos have only been accessible directly via our race reports!
And last but not least - and better late than never - we would like to wish you all a belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
For the 2022 racing season Two Daves Racing will acquire a brand spanking new 2022-model Aprilia Racing RS660 Trofeo. The RS660 Trofeo is a factory-built race machine produced by the Aprilia Racing division. Our particular machine - which is "one of the first of the 2022 batch" - will be delivered to us in March/April 2022. You can view more information and photos here.
Why did we choose an Aprilia Factory RS660 Trofeo?
When making the decision there were many things to consider - but in the end we selected this particular machine for the following reasons:
* In David Jnr's early years of racing, we competed in the british championships on an Aprilia RS125SP - since then we have always had a soft spot for low production run Aprilia special editions
* We have never had the pleasure of acquiring a brand new factory-built race bike before (but did race a brand new but road-converted Yamaha R6 back in 1999)
* The Aprilia Factory RS660 Trofeo is a fabulous looking machine
* We enjoy the Supertwin category, having raced in it for the past decade - and are happy to continue riding in the category
* But possibly the most important thing was... we really wanted to own one!
Regarding the competition element - which raises the question of "Will it have the outright speed of a modified SV650/Z650/R7/etc?" - we don't currently know, but I guess we'll find out... Regardless, due to the reasons outlined above we didn't want one of those other machines! ;-)
Our aims for the future?
With our investment in a brand new machine, we will be frequenting the club racing paddocks for a while longer. This has enabled us to 'think bigger' when assessing what we want to achieve - and this will revolve around outright speed rather than results for the 2022 season, as if we are quicker then we are likely to be more competitive anyway.
How will we achieve our aims?
Our 'plan of attack' is not a particularly complicated one. However, with the time demands that come with an advancing career and a young family, it has become apparent that unless we specifically try to address these points then our time will inevitably be spent elsewhere. What we will focus on is:
* Getting more seat time - being on a bike more frequently is always useful! We plan to increase to number of days we spend on track (whether on a race day, track day, flat track, etc) as in the past that has proven very useful.
* Having a fitter rider - being able to ride harder for longer will help the rider to push the boundaries further. Any weight loss will also help overall performance.
* Evolving the machine over time - as we know, the game continually moves on. As proven performance updates become available for the RS660 Trofeo, we will evolve the machine in line with our aims.
How will we measure our success?
The stopwatch will be the gauge of our success. Our aim (circuit conditions depending) will be to first match, then to beat, our existing Personal Best lap times. Regarding Darley Moor in particular, we have assessed the sub-1:02 lap times posted within the various 'Twins' classes over the past 10 seasons - and would like to progress up that particular "leaderboard".
We will continue to race on our Kawasaki Supersport machine, which will be unchanged for the 2022 season, to serve as a great benchmark for how the rider is performing compared to our Personal Best times.
We are particularly excited by these developments and are looking forward to the race season(s) ahead! Keep your eyes peeled for further news and updates - including a dyno comparison against our Kawasaki Supertwin once the Trofeo arrives :-)
David Carson Jnr,