The Darley Moor Motor Cycle Road Race Club let the flag drop on the strangest of seasons this weekend with Race Days 2 and 3 held on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th October, but spectators were treated to some excellent racing from some full grids and even the weather played it’s part on Sunday, in October!
It was good to see Lloyd Shelley (Burntwood) back in the Darley Moor Motorsport Centre’s paddock again, a dominant force to be reckoned with in his previous visits and multiple winner on several occasions, however, it wasn’t to be this time around as the main competition came from somebody a little closer to ‘home’, Ash Stone (Matlock), although in fairness Shelley was on a new, street legal 765 Triumph, far from a race prepared machine. Stone managed to take 7 victories from 8 starts and 7 fastest laps in the Peak Cup and combined Open Solo/Pre-injection Open class races. ‘Allowing’ Shelley to take the victory in the race that Stone jumped the start, whilst not getting the better of Stone on track, the 10sec penalty demoted him to 4th place. In their first Peak Cup encounter Stone was quicker off the line and led from the opening lap, whilst Shelley was 4th, behind Richard Wardle (Stoke on Trent) and Brendan Brown (Newcastle under Lyme) until finding a way pass by Lap4, whilst Brown lost his position to Tim Poole (Northwich). Their second battle, Open Solo/Pre-Injection Open; Shelley leads at the end of Lap1, with Adam Walters (Derby), 2nd, on a Pre-Injection machine and Stone, 3rd. Stone moves into 2nd on Lap2, a little under 2sec behind Shelley, then passes him on Lap5 and enjoys a 2sec lead at the flag, with Walters 3rd overall, taking the Pre-Injection Open honours. Peak Cup, battle #3: Lap1; Shelley leads, Stone in 6th. By Lap4 Stone has made his way up to 2nd, with Shelley 7.7sec ahead, then after recording the fastest lap of the race on Lap 6 the gap has been reduced by 5sec, Lap7 sees Shelley’s advantage reduced to less than 0.5sec, then Stone takes the lead on Lap8 and stretches the advantage to almost 8sec, after the 10 laps! Battle #4; Open Solo/Pre-Injection Open: Start – Finish win for Stone, Walters 2nd Overall, but Pre-Injection class victory, with Shelley 5th on opening lap, moving into 3rd on Lap5. Battle #5; Sunday, Peak Cup, ‘race 1’; Jump Start from Stone, Shelley moves into 2nd, on track, on Lap4, but the 10sec added penalty drops Stone to 4th. Matthew Bell (Sheffield), 6th on Lap1 and 4th by Lap5 makes up two places on final lap and promoted to 2nd at chequered flag. Battle #6; Start – Finish victory for Stone; Poole, 2nd throughout on the first Pre-Injection machine, whilst Bell passes Shelley on the final lap to take 3rd overall by just 0.19sec. Battle #7: Peak Cup ‘race 2’; Start – Finish victory for Stone, with Shelley 2nd throughout and Wardle passing Bell on Lap6 and holding him off for 3rd. Battle #8, Open Solo/Pre-Injection Open: another Start-Finish victory for Stone, with Shelley following him throughout again, for 2nd place; Walters and Brown 3rd and 4th overall, taking the Pre-Injection honours.
Jamie Hanks-Elliott (Birmingham) continued her strong run of form from several weeks ago and added two more start-to-finish overall victories in Saturday’s combined Junior/Senior races, leaving the rest to fight it out. The first race saw Hanks-Elliott get an excellent start and enjoy a 5sec lead at the end of Lap 1, with Senior class front-runner and 2019 Champion, David Glossop (Wilmslow) following her round in 2nd place. However, unable to make any real inroads on the leader, Glossop was still 4.2sec adrift at the flag. 2019 Junior Champion, Katie Hand (Cabourne) was a further 9sec back in 3rd place. The second encounter saw a battle between Hanks-Elliott and Hand in the opening laps, but Hanks-Elliott was once again able to pull clear of the field and cross the finish line with a comfortable 6.5sec advantage over Hand. It was Glossop that needed to make up for the slower start on this occasion, ending Lap1 in 5th place and chasing the leaders, but able to get into 3rd spot by Lap4, holding that position to the flag. Sunday’s races were not quite as straightforward for Jamie; the opening encounter getting the day set-up superbly for spectators with one of the closest finishes of the day with Hanks-Elliott leading from the opening lap, but with Hand and Tyler Howe (Buxton) both within 1sec of her. The next couple of laps saw Howe fighting with Glossop for the 3rd place spot, whilst Hand was closing in on the leader. By Lap4 Glossop had managed to stretch a gap on Howe, but Hand was showing the form that got her last year’s Championship and passed Hanks- Elliott on the final lap to take victory by just 0.14sec, with Glossop having to settle for 3rd place, just a further 0.6sec behind. The final Junior/Senior race proved to be yet another exciting race, although disappointment for 1 racer.
Hanks-Elliott again getting the better start and leading across the line for the first 6laps, then Hand, who had, once again, been chasing her down managed to lead across the line on Lap7, but then fell at the next corner, Park Corner, leaving Hanks-Elliott to take her third victory of the weekend. Glossop again taking the Senior class win, with an overall 2nd place, just 0.7sec behind. Whilst Howe recorded his best finish, Runner-Up in the Junior class.
Several of the Junior class runners were also out in the combined Lightweight/Honda CB500 races with Hanks-Elliott putting in a good show against some different machinery. Saturday’s first race saw Jamie O’Brien (Liverpool) take a start-to-finish victory on his Lightweight machine leaving Lightweight rival Dean Stimpson (Cambridge) to chase down the top CB500 runner, 2019 Champion, Mark Brailsford (Chesterfield) and Hanks-Elliott. With the Junior class competitor getting yet another excellent start, 3rd on the opening lap, behind O’Brien and Brailsford. Stimpson found his way through into 3rd on the second lap then set about closing the gap to Brailsford until the penultimate lap gave him a better run through backmarkers, moving into 2nd overall and holding the advantage to the flag. Race2 saw Brailsford make a superb start and leave the rest to fight it out amongst themselves, taking the start-to-finish victory with a 5.5sec advantage at the flag. Behind him, all sorts of dramas were unfolding; O’Brien 2nd after Lap1, with Hanks-Elliott, 3rd, and Andy Jackson (Southport) 4th on another Lightweight machine, trying to close the gap on CB500 mounted Brailsford. By the end of Lap2 Jackson was up to 2nd but could get no closer to Brailsford, the next lap saw Hanks-Elliott move into 3rd and 2019 CB500 Runner-Up, Liam Clements (Newcastle under Lyme) move into 4th before O’Brien failed to finish Lap4. Clements then getting the better of Hanks-Elliott in the battle for Overall 3rd place, but the pair each getting a Runner-Up spot in their respective classes. Sunday’s first race saw O’Brien lead the way in the opening couple of laps until multiple Lightweight Champion Chris Moore (High Peak) hit the front on Lap3 and opened up a gap of almost 5sec at the flag, whilst Stimpson was unable to close in on the 2nd place man, having to settle for 3rd on his Lightweight machine. Brailsford was again the top CB500 competItor, finishing the opening lap in 5th place overall and having to drop just 1 place to a Lightweight machine, finishing 6th Overall, but winner of the CB500’s. The second race saw a dominant Moore take a start-finish victory, finishing over 22sec ahead of the field, leaving O’Brien in 2nd place with Brailsford again the top CB500, 6th Overall.
O’Brien and Stimpson were also out, on the same machines, in the Classic & Forgotten Era races and O’Brien repeated his effort in the opening Lightweight race with a Start – Finish victory on his former 250cc Grand Prix style machine. Following O’Brien throughout were David Tetley (Selby) for an overall 2nd place and victory in the 251 - 500cc class, 2nd place in this class went to Stimpson who was closing in on Tetley throughout the race, maybe another lap, or so would have seen them swap places. David Bradley (Matlock) secured victory in the 501 – 1300cc class with 4th Overall. The second race was much less straightforward with O’Brien leading from Bradley, with Stimpson 3rd and Tetley 4th for the opening two laps, until he failed to finish Lap3. Bradley then took over the lead, until Stimpson passed him on Lap6 and managed to stretch out a small advantage at the flag, with Tetley, 3rd. Their first race on Sunday provided one of the closest finishes of the day with Bradley and Stimpson battling throughout the 6-lap race. Bradley leading across the line for the opening two laps, Stimpson then leading across the line for the next 3 laps,
before Bradley passed him again on the final lap to take victory by just 0.5sec. O’Brien was making up for a slower start, finishing the opening lap in 7th spot, working his way through he was able to pass Tetley on Lap5 and claim 3rd spot. The final race saw Stimpson take a Start-Finish victory with O’Brien in tow for the 8laps, finally finishing just 1sec behind at the flag.
Another former Darley Moor regular returned this weekend and was able to stamp some authority on the Formula 600 class, Ricky Tarren (Tamworth) enjoyed some excellent battles at the head of the field with Harry Jackson (Edwinstowe), Richard Wardle, Shaun Evans (Kirkby in Ashfield) and Tim Walsh (Buxton). Jackson got off to the perfect start in their first race on Saturday recording Start – Finish victory with Tarren in pursuit throughout the race, with Evans following the pair home, just 0.5sec behind Tarren. ‘Race 2’ and the opening 3 laps saw a similar situation, until Tarren squeezed by on Lap4 and stretched out a comfortable margin at the flag. As Tarren was making his progress, Walsh was also moving his way through the field; 4th at the end of Lap1, 3rd on Lap4, then dropping Jackson to 3rd place on the final lap, pipping him to the line by 0.4sec. Sunday’s ‘race 1’ provided a simple Start – Finish, 1-2-3 for Tarren, Jackson and Wardle. Tarren taking the victory by 1.1sec from Jackson with Wardle a further 3.5sec adrift in 3rd place. A similar scenario occurred in ‘race 2’, but with Jackson having to settle for 3rd place on this occasion, 7.5sec behind Wardle, with Tarren another 2.5sec quicker, at the head of the field.
The opening Pre-Electronic 600 & 700 Twins race, on Saturday, equalled the closest finish of the weekend after a superb race from Lee Smith (Mansfield). At the end of Lap1 Smith was 9th, a lap later he was up to 4th and Lap3 into 2nd, with a 6.4sec gap to the leader, Stuart Bradbury (Kilburn) on a similar 600 machine. At the start of the 6th and final lap there was still 1.5sec to catch the leader, but amazingly he was able to catch and pass him, taking the victory by just 0.14sec! First Twin cylinder machine home was that of Richard Hunt (Wetherby) in 4th place Overall. After failing to finish the opening lap in the first race Shaun Evans made amends in the second by taking a Start – Finish victory in the 8 lap race, Smith coming from 4th on Lap1 and into 2nd place by Lap3, just 2sec behind at the chequered flag. David Carson (Northwich) was the first Twin home in 4th place, making his way through from 7th on the opening lap. After claiming 3rd place in Saturday’s second race Ben Dale (Warrington) secured a Start – Finish victory in Sunday’s opener, managing to stretch an advantage of almost 3sec at the flag over Evans, with Smith, 3rd and Carson again the first Twin home in 4th place. Their final race of the weekend saw Evans turn the tables on Dale and claim victory by just 0.6sec, after taking the lead on Lap3, once again Smith 3rd and Carson 4th.
Onto the three wheeled action and because of the number of entries received the Club were able to run separate races for the Formula 600 and Open Sidecars. The Harry Payne/Brad Stockton (Isle of Man/Crewe) pairing took a straightforward Start-Finish victory in the first Formula 600 race on Saturday with Dan Knight/Ben Hughes (Macclesfield) team taking 2nd, after passing 3rd place finishers, Gary Horsepole/Kenny Cole (Sleaford/Bath) on the second lap. Saturday’s race 2 saw Knight/Hughes turn the tables on Payne/Stockton and claim the victory, albeit by a much smaller margin, just 0.4sec at the flag. Horsepole/Cole again finishing in 3rd place. Sunday’s opening race was a much more fraught affair with three outfits battling originally for 2nd place, but then after Knight/Hughes failed to finish Lap5, whilst leading, the pairings of Howard Baker/Mike Killingsworth (Sutton Coldfield/Lincs), Horsepole/Cole and Robert Atkinson/Mark Middleton (Carterton/Swindon) were then battling for the lead. Originally, Horsepole led the opening lap until Knight passed him for the lead on Lap3, then Baker passed Horsepole for 2nd on Lap4, then after Knight failed to finish Lap5 he managed to hold onto the lead until the flag. Baker took the victory by 1.3sec from Horsepole, with the Atkinson outfit just a further 0.14sec behind, in 3rd! The final race was another exciting race with three teams taking a turn at leading. Firstly, the Atkinson outfit led for the opening two laps, then Baker led on Lap3, until Payne hit the front, after being 4th on Lap1 and stretched out a 7sec lead, with Baker and Atkinson battling over 2nd and 3rdplaces. Baker having a 1.4sec advantage at the flag.
In comparison to the 600 outfits the Open class Sidecars were less fraught, on Saturday, at least, the opening race being won by Simon Horton/Jordan Forrest (Nottingham/Doncaster) after leading Steve Thomas/Danny Lewis (Rockferry/Wirrall) throughout and taking the win by just 2.4sec. The same scenario occurred in the second encounter, although the winning margin was a little more comfortable. Sunday’s opener saw Thomas/Lewis make amends, passing Horton/Forrest on Lap2 and taking the win by 2.6sec at the flag, but not over Horton, who had dropped back to 4th, Anthony Eades/Amy Dodds (Hyde/Crewe) had made there way into 2nd place on Lap2. The second race, the final race of the weekend Eades/Dodds in 4th place on the opening lap, up to 3rd on Lap2, then 2nd on Lap4 before hitting the front on Lap5 and opening a winning margin of 9sec at the flag. Horton/Forrest came out on top in the 2nd place battle with Joe Heyes/Derek Sallah (Bolton/Sheffield). 3rd place was just reward for Team Heyes/ Sallah, who had a busier weekend than anticipated after suffering a blown motor on their Formula 600 outfit during qualifying on Saturday they returned to Bolton to collect another outfit to use in the Open class for the remainder of the weekend!
Whilst it was not the usual Stars at Darley finale, some brilliant racing was watched by a good crowd considering all the COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions in place, all of which were adhered to by everybody. So, a big Thank You to all, from the Club for the support in what has been a difficult year for the sport. Roll-on 2021 in what will hopefully be a closer to normal season. Stay Safe everyone.
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Report by Brian George