Ducati Desmo Due Final round of 23 : Season opener 24

Tuesday March 19, 2024 at 10:17am
Ducati Desmo Due Final round of 23 : Season opener 24

The final round of the Championship was held at Cadwell with the A (injection) class championship still mathematically coming down to the wire but with B (carburettor) class championship settled at the Anglesey round with reigning champion Floyd Moody retaining his title. Returning for the first time since his horror crash at Donington was Carl Smalley (691) who despite claiming to be far from fit topped the A class timesheets in qualifying to put his bike ahead of championship leader, and reigning 2023 champion, Dominic Cann (1). Cann (1) by this time knew he would retain his title as the only other person mathematically capable of winning the title, Dan James (12) had suffered a broken collarbone in a Friday testing accident. Local favourite Jason Dixon (62) brought his bike home third fastest but some 4 seconds behind Smally and Cann. In B class, a different Friday testing accident had unbelievably seen Floyd Moody (7) break his collarbone meaning despite winning the 2024 Championship he wouldn’t get a chance to qualify leaving Enrico Belsito (13) to take first from Brian Tipple (27) and Paul Bevan (109).

In the first race Cann (1) was almost able to match his qualifying pace for the seven laps whereas Smalley (691) started fast but couldn’t maintain the pace he’d showed earlier, nonetheless, he still took second with Dixon (62) taking third. In B class Belsito (13) took the win from Tipple (27) with Bevan (109) taking the final podium position.

For Sunday the first race saw Smalley (691) put in a masterclass of grit and determination to take the win from Cann (1) with Dixon (62) again in third spot but this time just half a second adrift. In B class Belsito (13) and Tipple (27) again had a great battle with Belsito (13) taking the glory and Paul Aldred (32) taking the third spot. The final race of the year saw Smally (691) exit the circuit during the sighting lap having decided his comeback had been glorious enough leaving Cann (1) to take the win from 2022 champion Chris Norris (22) with Dixon (62) again taking third spot. In B class Belsito (13) took the win from Aldred (32) in second and no third-place rider at all in the class to claim the final podium position.


2024 will be the 20th year in which the Ducati Sporting Club DesmoDue race series has run, and interest remains high with continued support from Dunlop for the 2024 season meaning we get to retain the much loved SportSmart TT control tyre. The series was started to give club members the opportunity to race production bikes with limited permitted modifications and a control tyre, where rider talent was what mattered rather than the size of the rider’s cheque book! The ethos of the original series lives on today as it did then and a number of the bikes on the grid are essentially lockwired road bikes with the unnecessary bits removed. The 2023 and 19th edition of Desmo Due saw 29 riders participate in at least one class A race and 11 in at least one class B race (with a couple of class defectors mid-season). Out of 480 potential starters across the year we only had 42 failures to take to the grid with 15 of those coming in the final round at Cadwell when visiting A&E seemed to be the sport of choice. Unsurprisingly the next highest DNS’s seem to coincide with bad weather, with 8 people sitting out the final race at the second visit to Combe and 6 choosing to sit out the wet races at Brands some of the same names appear in both lists despite having practically unused wet tyres, albeit date stamped 2014!

In respect of DNF’s there were only 36 but 12 of those were followed up by race finishes at the same meeting, meaning whether the reasons for the initial DNF were mechanical or talent related we seem to be able to get bikes and riders fixed and back out for another go wherever possible somewhat dispelling the myth of Ducatis being unreliable and difficult to work on. Of the remaining 24 DNF’s, 18 were in the final race of the meeting leaving just 6 occasions where a DNF resulted in someone not being able to race. The average age of the grid is probably 50 (ish) with a couple of fast pensioners keeping everyone honest, most of us however have to go to work on a Monday so whilst the racing is close it is also fair and the paddock one of the friendliest there is.

 If the thought of being a Ducati racer has ever crossed your mind and you want more information please look out for the Desmo Due racing flag in the paddock and come and have a chat or have a look at www.ducatisportingclub.com.

Finally on a more sombre note the club would like to note the sad passing of Chris Elliott (33) in January of this year after a period of illness, Chris had been with DD for a few years and had been in good spirits in both the last round at Cadwell and also at the soaking wet Lord of Lydden meeting in October. He’ll be forever remember by the paddock for being awarded the “Delaying the start” penalty at Cadwell in 2023 after deciding he fancied starting a bit closer to the front than he’d actually qualified.

Words by Andy Hind

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