The curtain, and the rain, came down on the Darley Moor Motor Cycle Road Race Club’s 2019 season this weekend, 12th – 13th October 2019, when the traditional Stars at Darley took place. Despite the weather causing an hour’s delay in proceedings on the Sunday, preventing any lap and race records being broken the record books were re-written in other areas of a fantastic season at the Darley Moor Motorsport Centre, near Ashbourne.
This year’s Star of Darley equalled the record number of Star of Darley titles won, another Star returned for his 21st consecutive occasion and the Club now have their very first female solo champion.
The two feature ‘Stars at Darley’ ten-lappers saw reigning ‘Star’, Richard Cooper (Hucknall) underline his dominance at Darley Moor with a start – finish victory in the first race. TT legend John McGuinness (Morecambe), in his 21st consecutive Stars at Darley appearance, was able to fight off a determined challenge from Milo Ward (Wellingborough) throughout the entire race, the pair separated by little more than 0.3sec at any time. The battle for top honours amongst the regular Darley Moor runners went to Jim Hodson (Wigan), finishing 4th in the opening race, holding off a late charge from another Wigan based competitor, Josh Daley, who was able to reduce the gap to 4th place by 0.7sec on the final lap.
The second Stars at Darley race saw McGuinness quickest off the line and lead the opening lap, but by the end of Lap2 he had been relegated to 3rd place, Cooper hitting the front with Ward in chase. Throughout the race Cooper was able to stretch his advantage over Ward, in much the same way as Ward stretched his advantage over McGuinness. Cooper’s victory giving him his sixth ‘Star of Darley’ title, equalling Michael Rutter’s record. Hodson had the advantage in the regular’s battle, holding 4th place for the opening laps until Daley was able to close him down and take 4th place on Lap7. Hodson then dropped a further place when Ash Beech (Oldham) took 5th place off him in the final lap.
The Club Championship races were all reduced to 12laps rather than 15 due to the delay caused by the weather and the opening race, the Peak Cup, saw Hodson take a start – finish victory over Daley, with Ash Stone (Matlock) settling for 3rd place in the tricky conditions, but this was enough to clinch Peak Cup title by just 8points over Daley.
The combined Junior/Senior race followed this and was about to see another record created despite some non-regular competitors finishing ahead of the Championship contenders. Senior class competitor Andrew Widdowson (Nottingham) took the overall win ahead of Jake Hopper (Durham) on a Junior machine, but neither of these riders were eligible for Championship points. Behind these, Junior class rider, McAuley Longmore (Willenhall) found himself in 6th place after the first lap, then moving into 4th on the third lap, behind James Bull (Southampton). With Bull failing to finish the final lap Longmore inherited 3rd place overall, but with the race win points haul of 30points for being the first championship points scorer home, lifting him to 3rd place in the championship’s standings. Tyler Howe (Buxton) was having an impressive ride on a new machine finishing behind Longmore. However, the championship race was between three young ladies and they were in their own battle throughout the race and separated by just 0.5sec across the finish line; Katie Hand (Cabourne) 8th overall and becoming the Club’s first female solo Champion, Scarlett Robinson (New Mills) 9th and finishing Runner-Up in the Championship, with Jamie Hanks-Elliott (Birmingham) 10th, but dropping to joint 5th in the table. David Glossop (Wilmslow) finished 5th Overall, but was first points scorer home in the Senior Class, therefore cementing his place at the top of the table.
The combined Formula 600/Pre-Injection race was won by Joey Thompson (York) after a battle with Stephen Parsons (Preston) at the head of the field until Parsons failed to finish Lap9, handing Thompson a 15sec cushion at the head of the field over former Darley Moor regular, Brad Vicars (Tadcaster). With Thompson ineligible for Championship points Vicars received the race win tally, taking him to 4th place in the final stand-ings after just two points scoring rides. The Championship race was between Rich Baker (Crewe) and 2019 Mini Sound of Thunder Champion, David Carson (Northwich) hoping to add the Formula 600 title to this year’s success. Carson finished the opening lap in 4th, whilst Baker was 6th, but by Lap2 Baker was onto his back wheel until he found a way past on Lap5 and stretch out a 2.5second advantage by Lap8. Then disaster hit Carson, also failing to finish Lap9, just as Baker recorded his fastest lap of the race and with Parsons also failing to finish the lap, he inherited 3rd overall and with his nearest Championship rival out, no threat to his Championship title lead. The Pre-Injection class was won by Stuart Bradbury (Kilburn) after a slow start saw him down in 15th place overall after Lap1, but battling through the field he finished 5th Overall, passing fellow Pre-Injection600 rider Andrew Lowe (Stone) on the final lap and with it the championship title. This excellent ride also saw Bradbury collect the Jake Hingly Trophy, in memory of a racer who began his career at Darley Moor in 2012, unfortunately his career was cut short at Cadwell Park in 2014. With no title challengers competing at this meeting Rich Baker was also able to lift the 2019 Sound of Thunder title without turning a wheel.
In the closest race of the day Liam Clements (Newcastle under Lyme) put in a superb effort to try and save his title aspirations in the Honda CB500/Suzuki Bandit Championship. With a 26point gap to title leader Mark Brailsford (Chesterfield), who had won all races in the first five rounds this was going to be a big ask. Crossing the line sixth after the opening lap and with Brailsford 4th it was not looking likely, but he wasn’t giving up. He managed to claim 4th off his rival on Lap5, then another two laps later he was into 2nd, with almost 3seconds to the leader, Dave Grace (Aston on Trent). By the penultimate lap Clements was just 0.5sec from Grace’s wheel and with the help of the fastest lap of the race, on the final lap, 1sec quicker than the leader he took the race win by 0.4sec, with Brailsford dropped to 7th place, but scoring enough points to prevent Clements taking the title from him, by just 4points!!
Peak Cup rivals Josh Daley and Ash Stone were also battling it out in the combined Open Solo/Pre-Injection/ Sound of Thunder race and whilst Stone had lifted the Peak Cup title it was Daley who had the advantage over Stone. After losing out to Stone earlier in the day Daley was not going to let his rival take the Open Solo title as well, making certain he went on to record a start-finish victory, finishing 2.5sec ahead of Stone. Adam Walters (Derby) made sure of the Pre-Injection Championship after the top three of the Championship finished in the same order in the race, Walters finishing ahead of his two challengers, Anthony Froggatt (Worksop) and Andrew Boulton (Newcastle under Lyme); 7th, 8th and 9th Overall.
Coming into this final round the Lightweight Championship was the closest with just 1point separating 1st and 2nd, the season long battle being between two competitors from High Peak; Chris Moore and James Ford. The class also had the addition of Dan Sayle (Isle of Man) to the entries, although in a non-point scoring ride. The race was a straightforward one for Sayle, managing a start-finish victory and lapping almost 1second per lap quicker than anybody else. However, a little too much exuberance at the start saw him given a 10second penalty reducing his victory margin over Moore to 6seconds, with Ford a further 5seconds back, the Championship pairing finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively, allowing Moore to add yet another Lightweight title to his name.
Tony Griffiths (Pontypridd) ensured the title in the Classic & Forgotten Era 251cc- 500cc Championship with a start to finish victory in the race for all three classes. David Bradley (Matlock) was the first of the 501cc -1300cc machines home in third place and confirming another Championship victory. Graham Oakley (Chesterfield) was the first of the smaller, ‘up to 250cc’ machines home, 10th Overall and securing this Championship title.
Fans of Sidecar racing witnessed the first time that George Holden (Stoke on Trent), with passenger Oscar Lawrence (Kingsclere) had lined up on the grid alongside his father’s outfit John Holden (Stoke on Trent), with Tom Bryant (Blackburn), although his father would not be eligible to score Championship points. Unsurprisingly, in the first race British Championship runners, John Holden/Bryant secured a start – finish victory with Howard Baker/Mike Killingsworth (Sutton Coldfield/Lincs) following in their wake throughout on another Formula 600 outfit. Championship leaders Roger & Bradley Stockton (Crewe) could only manage 6th in this opening Sidecar race, but this was enough to secure the Championship. Open Sidecar Championship leaders, Roy Tansley/Jack Fox (Derby) finished 5th Overall, enough to secure the Open Class Championship. In the second sidecar race, the final race of the season, the George Holden/Oscar Lawrence crew were able to bring their outfit home in front of Holden the Elder, finishing with a 2.5sec advantage.
This season has seen some fantastic racing throughout the year and we have seen some exciting prospects for future seasons, but none of it would have taken place without the time given by all the Marshals and Officials, each weekend, as this weekend proved, standing out in all weathers. The Darley Moor Motor Cycle Road Race Club wish to thank all those throughout the year and now look forward to the 2019 Stars at Darley and Club Championship Presentation of Awards and Annual Dinner at the Best Western Moat House Hotel, Stoke on Trent on Saturday 2nd February 2020. 2019 Championships (After Round 7) Junior Championship
1st Katie Hand, 82pts; 2nd Scarlett Robinson, 58pts; 3rd McAuley Longmore, 57pts Senior Championship
1st David Glossop, 94pts; 2nd Freddie Simcox, 72pts, 3rd Simon Hart, 16pts Classic & Forgotten Era up to 250cc
1st Graham Oakley, 121pts; 2nd Glenn Atkinson, 83pts; 3rd Geoff Hadwin, 50pts Classic & Forgotten Era 251cc to 500cc
1st Tony Griffiths, 94pts; 2nd Mike Lees, 70pts; 3rd George Pidcock, 57pts; Classic & Forgotten Era 501cc – 1300cc
1st David Bradley, 88pts; 2nd Geoff Martin, 36pts; 3rd Jamie O’Brien, 31pts Lightweight Championship
1st Chris Moore, 104pts; 2nd James Ford, 97pts; 3rd Tony Griffiths, 48pts Honda CB500 & Suzuki Bandit Championship
1st Mark Brailsford, 100pts; 2nd Liam Clements 96pts; 3rd John Lester, 64pts Formula 600 Championship
1st Rich Baker, 94pts; 2nd Dave Carson, 61pts; 3rd David Shallcross, 48pts Pre-electronic 600cc & 750cc Twin Championship
1st Stuart Bradbury, 118pts; 2nd Steve Price, 62pts; 3rd Tim Walsh, 43pts Mini Sound of Thunder Championship
1st Dave Carson
, 92pts; 2nd Richard Hunt, 34pts; 3rd Richard Saville, 22pts Open Solo
1st Josh Daley, 90pts; 2nd Ash Stone, 68pts; 3rd Richard Eglin, 51pts Pre-Injection
1st Adam Walters, 114pts; 2nd Anthony Froggatt, 96pts; 3rd Andrew Boulton, 70pts Sound of Thunder
1st Rich Baker, 77pts; 2nd Zach Tansley, 44pts; 3rd Matt Zschiesche, 28pts Peak Cup
1st Ash Stone, 95pts; 2nd Josh Daley, 87pts; 3rd Jim Hodson, 41pts Open Sidecar
1st Roy Tansley/Jack Fox, 100pts; 2nd Anthony Eades/Nick Roberts, 87pts; 3rd Dan Knight/Ben Hughes, 46pts Formula 600 Sidecar
1st Roger Stockton/Bradley Stockton, 80pts; 2nd Howard Baker/Mike Killingsworth, 65pts; 3rd George Holden/Andy Winkle, 61pts