The penultimate round of the Darley Moor Motor Cycle Road Race Championships took place on Sunday 17th September 2017 at the Darley Moor Motor Sports Centre and whilst there were ten champions confirmed for this season the headlines were written by just one competitor, once again.
After setting the fastest lap in Practice Lloyd Shelley (Burntwood) took to the grid on six occasions on Sunday, won all six races and set the Fastest Lap in five of those races. From a total of 44 racing laps completed Shelley was leading for 37 of them. Unsurprisingly in the process he retained the two championships he won last year, the Sound of Thunder and Formula 600. The very first race of the day, Peak Cup, gave an indication of what was to come; finishing the first lap in 3rd place, behind Andy Taylor (Chesterfield) and Carl Morris (Etwall). Lap 2 saw him pass Morris then as he set about closing the gap on Taylor he recorded, what turned out to be, the fastest lap of the day, on the fifth lap he hit the front and pulled out a gap of 2.7sec in just the final two laps! The afternoon’s 10 lap Peak Cup race saw Taylor again lead the opening lap, but on this occasion Shelley was through into the lead by the end of Lap 2 and going onto take the victory by almost 10 seconds, leaving Taylor to battle it out with Morris for 2nd and 3rd. Taylor repeating the Runner Up spot of the first race. The first Formula 600 race saw a flag to flag victory, as did the two Sound of Thunder races, but the second Formula 600 race saw Carl Booth (Swadlincote) lead for the first two laps then Shelley squeezed through on the 3rd lap. Booth then became involved in the battle between Richard Stubbs (Stone) and Matthew Zschiesche (Stoke on Trent), Stubbs finally winning this battle for 2nd place, Zschiesche 3rd and Booth 4th.
Andy Taylor and Carl Morris were also out on track for the Open Solo races; whilst the pair remained out front throughout the first race they were deemed to have jumped the start, along with others, after the time penalty was added Richard Eglin (Derby) was awarded the victory, with Taylor 2nd, Adam Walters (Derby) 3rd and Morris 4th. The second race saw Morris make the quicker start and lead for the opening lap until Taylor passed him on Lap 2, then Eglin followed him through on Lap 3 and the trio then stayed in that order until the flag.
Chris Moore (High Peak) retained the Lightweight Championship after securing a flag to flag victory in the first combined Lightweight/Formula Darley race. His 2nd place in class, behind nearest rival Graham Wilson (Kidsgrove) was enough to put this championship out of reach. The Formula Darley Championship was also retained for another year by David Carson (Northwich) after finishing 3rd overall and being the first Formula Darley machine home in the first race, just pipping nearest rival, Joe Walton (Preston) who had recorded the class’ Fastest Lap in an effort the keep his championship hopes alive. Their second race provided one of the closest finishes of the day, Walton leading off the line, then Jason Wilkes (Telford) squeezing through into the lead on Lap2, Walton then repassing him on the penultimate lap and holding on until the flag with a winning margin of 0.3sec, Carson having the best seat in the house and following them home in 3rd place. This trio also finished in the same order during the combined Mini Sound of Thunder/Sound of Thunder races. The result leaving Walton with a 20 point gap to Carson at the top of the Mini Sound of Thunder Championship table, and still a chance of the title.
The combined Classics and Formula 125 races saw three champions crowned; after recording two overall Runner-Up places David Bradley (Matlock) secured the Classic 1000 Championship, although it could’ve been very different if double race winner this time out, and at Round 5, Neil Hingley (Burntwood) had competed in the whole season. Recording an overall 7th place in the first race and a 9th in the second, but being the first Classic 250 home secured that title for Geoff Hadwin (Cumbria). The Formula 125 title was also wrapped up at this round after James Bull (Southampton) recorded a class 3rd and 2nd place, putting the title out of reach of Jake Hopper (Durham), who shared the same positions as Bull, a 2nd and 3rd, both class victories being taken by Jeremy Knight (Newbury), who impressively recorded a 6th and 5th overall.
A start to finish win in the first Pre Injection (up to 1300cc) race was enough to clinch the Championship for Jamie Pearson (Derby), putting the title out of reach of both Mark Brailsford (Chesterfield) and Andrew Lowe (Stone). Their second race saw both Pearson and Lowe fail to complete the first lap allowing Brailsford take a flag to flag victory, with Dean Ephgrave (Hucknall) adding a Runner-Up finish to his 6th in the first race.
Lowe and Ephgrave were also using the same machines in the combined Steel Framed 600/Pre Injection 600 races. In the first race Lowe didn’t make the grid, whilst Matt Smith (Newhall, Derbys) secured a start to finish victory on his Pre Injection machine, with Dave Marsden (Birkenhead) coming home in 2nd place on his Steel Framed machine. Ephgrave the 3rd placed Steel Framed home, behind Chris Spink (Stafford). Their second race was definitely one for the spectators; Dan Millner (Hope Valley) leading Lap 1, only to have Smith and Marsden pass him on the second lap. After being down in 5th on Lap1 Lowe started to make some progress through the field, 3rd on Lap 2 and into 2nd place on the third lap, finally hitting the front on Lap 5 and hanging on to take the victory from Smith, just 0.3sec behind, the victory being enough to retain the Pre Injection 600 championship.
The last Championship to be decided at this Round was the Open Sidecar class; the pairing of Anthony Eades/ Keith Box (Hyde/Wolverhampton) securing the title with two 2nd place class finishes. The outfit of Dan Knight/ Matthew Rostron (Northwich/Formby) took a start to finish victory on both occasions and left them with a 25 point advantage in the Formula 600 Sidecar Championship.
The closest finish of the day was left to the competitors in the CB500 class, whilst the first race was won by Andy Whale (Birmingham) with a 2.3 sec margin, with championship leader Paul Sawyer (Nuneaton) down in 7th place. The second race was very much closer; Sawyer getting the quicker start with Whale 1.3sec behind, in 2nd place, after the first lap. Putting in the Fastest Lap of the race on Lap 4 saw him move to just 0.5sec behind and finally, Sawyer’s winning margin was just 0.02sec at the flag, leaving Sawyer with an 8 point advantage.
With eight Championships still to be decided and with double points at stake for just the one long race per class, it is sure to be an excellent finale to the season, in less than three weeks, plus, of course, the added attraction of the ‘Stars’ arriving for the two day meeting on 7th – 8th October 2017. Be sure not to miss, or maybe even make a weekend of it, with Practice on Saturday and racing on Sunday.
Saturday’s Practice Day is scheduled to run between 10am – 5pm, whilst Sunday’s action begins with Practice at 10am, with the first race scheduled for 11.30am.
There is ample room for spectators to camp and caravan at Darley Moor over the race weekends. The cost is £5.00 per unit per night. Camping will normally be available from 4.00 pm on the Friday evening until 10.00 am on the day after the meeting or by special arrangement with the circuit management – Call 01335 343833.
Darley Moor is one of the few circuits in which dogs are welcome, provided they are kept on a lead at all times during race day and the owners act in a responsible manner. 2017 Championship standings after Round 6 Peak Cup
1st Ben Scranage, 56pts; 2nd Andy Taylor, 47pts; 3rd Steven Procter, 30pts; Open Solo
1st Ben Scranage, 60pts; 2nd Andy Taylor, 41pts; 3rd Julian Tillotson, 34pts; Open Sidecars
1st Anthony Eades/Keith Box, 81pts; 2nd Brian Wilson/Mike Fairhurst, 40pts; 3rd Gary Wilson/Tony Griffiths, 34pts; Lightweight
1st Chris Moore, 102pts; 2nd Graham Wilson, 63pts; 3rd Phillip Leatherland, 27pts Formula 600
1st Lloyd Shelley, 90pts; 2nd Steven Procter, 42pts; 3rd Matthew Zschiesche, 41pts Formula Darley
1st David Carson, 83pts; 2nd Joe Walton, 43pts; 3rd Chris Moore, 38pts; Formula 125
1st James Bull, 69pts; 2nd Jake Hopper, 35pts; 3rd Jamie Hanks-Elliott, 32pts; Formula 600 Sidecars
1st Dan Knight/Matthew Rostron, 86pts; 2nd Howard Baker/Mike Killingsworth, 61pts; 3rd Richard Hackney/ Andrew Mitchell, 25pts Steel Framed 600
1st Dean Ephgrave, 52pts; 2nd Steve Price, 49pts; 3rd Anthony Porter, 42pts Pre Injection 600
1st Andy Lowe, 90pts; 2nd Dan Milner, 48pts; 3rd Matthew Smith, 35pts Mini Sound of Thunder
1st David Carson, 61pts; 2nd Joe Walton, 41pts; 3rd Jason Wilkes, 22pts Sound of Thunder
1st Lloyd Shelley, 90pts; 2nd Matt Zschiesche, 45pts; 3rd Rich Baker, 32pts CB500
1st Paul Sawyer, 77pts; 2nd Andy Whale, 69pts; 3rd Shay Commins, 33pts Pre Injection (Up to 1300cc)
1st Jamie Pearson, 99pts; 2nd Mark Brailsford, 47pts; 3rd Andrew Lowe, 43pts Classic 250
1st Geoff Hadwin, 102pts; 2nd Andy Wilson, 37pts; 3rd Gary Whitman, 30pts Classic 350
1st Simon Collins, 90pts; 2nd Mark Cockerton, 55pts; 3rd Brian Prescott, 38pts; Classic 500
1st Dave McCoy, 60pts; 2nd Oliver Presswood, 59pts; 3rd Frank Melling, 41pts Classic 1000
1st David Bradley, 87pts; 2nd Neil Hingley, 36pts; 3rd Mike Harding, 29pts