Once again, if you will, allow me to take you back to Sunday 16th and Round 3 of the Darley Moor Championships 2019.
Part 2 of our round-up is focusing on the sidecars and wildcards from a spectacular day of racing at the challenging circuit in Ashbourne as once again the M7 went in search of glory.
SPR Racing – Steve Pawley and Dave Hammond.
Having endured more bad luck last time out at Donington Park SPR duo Steve & Dave were hoping that the unusual technical and electrical issues that ultimately ended in total engine failure had finally been resolved as they headed over to Derbyshire for Round 3.
Having swapped engines and the new power unit running faultlessly on the Dyno it was all systems go as qualifying got underway, with a slight change in gearing the boys were hopeful of pushing the elusive 1.10.00 lap if condition on track allowed. After only 1.5 laps they were back on 3 cylinders and had warning lights flashing on the dash and they pulled the outfit over and sat the rest of the session out as spectators. Incredibly upon firing the engine back up to make their way back to the pits all once again seemed fine and after a few discussion in the paddock it was suggested in may be the quickshifter causing the problem.
Quickshifter disconnected the boys lined up on the grid hoping for a change in fortunes but sadly it wasn’t to be and after 2 laps with warning lights once again lighting up the dash in front of Steve it was race over although this time they did make it back to the paddock and also retrieved the ‘fault code’ before shutting the engine off. After much frantic Goggle searching the one answer that kept cropping up among several different possibilities was to remove the power commander and having done so, and with track conditions near perfect it was time for the second race of the day.
With a 10 lap race ahead of them the lads made a good jump off the line and by the time they reached the Esses they had made it passed 2 other crews and the Suzuki was ‘singing’ at last. Missing a little grunt in a straight line after the gearing changes old rivals Crowe/Williams were now also settled into the race and were making up ground and adding to the pressure of the situation but the outfit held together and the lads nerve held to cross the line ahead and bagging themselves 8pts and moving up to 2nd in the championship standings just a single point behind Stockton/Stockton.
Green Ant Racing – Anthony Eades and Nick Roberts.
As well as Ash Gibson in the solo classes the Green Ant Formula 1 sidecar is now also running with my little logo on the side and it a huge honour to have it running on another sidecar out on circuit.
Running along side Steve & Dave in the sidecar field but in separate classes due to engine and outfit sizes the Green Ant machine has a long established and winning track record at Darley Moor and beyond having won the championship on several occasions on the #46 F1 machine.
One of eleven crews taking to the grid on the day the team enjoyed an incredibly consistent weekend at the little Ashbourne circuit as they finished both race in 4th place overall with a fastest lap in race 1 of 1.06.33 / 81.41MPH and a lap in race 2 of 1.06.31 / 81.44MPH and this was enough to move the team into 1st place in the championship standing on 33pts and just a single solitary point ahead of Roy Tansley and passenger Freddy Lelubez with 4 rounds still to go.
Another familiar awning at Darley Moor was the green and purple tent of Heaton Racing as Benjamin and family set up camp ahead of another outing on the Jeff Miller owned KTM that he has formed a formidable partnership with recently.
Having managed to secure entry in the Allcomers Race 1 as well as 2 outing against the Pre-Injection 600, 750 Twins and Mini Sound of Thunder it was going to be a great chance to assess the little KTM against some much bigger machinery as the day went on. Having resolved the brake issue that dogged them at the Supermoto GB meeting qualifying went well if the conditions on track were a little indifferent to say that least.
By the time of the Allcomers race conditions still hadn’t eased too much but after a quick chat with Jeff it was decided ‘slicks’ and the game was well and truly ON. Away off the line first Ben knew that the strong wind would dry the track quickly and a racing line would appear IF the rain held off, leading the pack out of Park Corner and on to the long straight this was where the KTM would suffer and sure enough it allowed the competition to close in and pass although race craft and the nimble chassis allowed the Lancashire man to stay close and he took the flag in a fine 4th place ahead of Mark Brailsford.
Pre-Inj 600, 750 & MSoT Race 1. Raining hard but unable to remove the back wheel and replace it with a wet weather tyre meant the dubious prospect of starting the race on slicks but once again the amazing chassis of the little KTM underneath him saw Ben thoroughly enjoy himself and even passing bigger bike on full wet tyres on his way to 14th, a lap time of 1.16.81 reflecting the conditions that the race was held in.
Race 2 and again off the line like a scolded cat the race developed into a familiar case of making up ground through the corners and losing it again on the straights as the 600’s shot passed before ruining the KTM’s advantage in the turns. A final lap ‘encounter’ with an errant 600 machine and Benjamin was suddenly on the grass at 110MPH!
Jumping, bucking and sliding away somehow control was regained and the chequered flag was taken in a quite brilliant 10th with the improved track conditions seeing more the 8 seconds knocked off the lap time from race 1.
Time to pack up Betty and head home.
It was nice to see Joe back out on track at Darley having lost his ride in the No Limits Championship Joe has now managed to bag himself a 600 Yamaha and ran strongly in his first outing posting a very promising 4th and 5th in the Formula 600 class and 8th in the first Peak Cup race which must bode well for future rounds.
And that is a belated wrap from Darley Moor Round 3, it was great to catch up with people and hopefully I’ll get to say hello to a few more next month.