We had a thoroughly enjoyable weekend at Darley Moor, although the weather did its best to keep us on our toes! It’s a circuit which Simon knows and enjoys, so we were hopeful of some good lap times.
A couple of broken wires in the loom affected us in Saturday qualifying, meaning that we ended up in 17th and dead last on the grid. The fastest 17 F2s were in the first race, with the ‘non-qualifiers’ in the second race with the F1 bikes. As Simon joked at the time, he did his best to make us front of the pack for the non-qualifiers, but didn’t quite manage it 😉
From the very back of the grid – which is an awfully long way back from the lights, Simon fought his way up through the field with some aggressive manoeuvring at the chicane. We ere up to around 8th before retiring on lap 3. Our front tyre had lost all pressure, which at the time we thought was a puncture to the nearly-new wet tyre, but turned out to be a loss of seal around the bolts holding the rims together. Easier to fix than needing a new tyre!
With the weather slowly drying, Simon again gave us a good, aggressive and fast start, chasing down other teams and passing a few. We crossed the line in a fantastic 8th place in – and a personal best lap time of 1:07.22. During the lunchtime, Dean Banks had worked with Darley Moor to organise taxi rides for members of the public, each of whom made a £20 donation to charity. Many of the sidecar drivers took part, offering a selection of F1 and F2 machines, along with Phil Jones’ BEARS outfit. Over 60 people took part, each getting three laps o the circuit. We were delighted to have both friends and TT supporters on the side with Simon, and I was roped in to give a briefing to the aspirant passengers; none of them fell out, which I take to mean I did an OK job. In total £1260 was raised to be split between Help For Heroes and the ACU Benevolent Fund – what a cracking result!
Sunday’s racing was equally close: with the weather now pretty much dry, and despite brake issues in qualifying we managed 9th. The front brakes were locking on again, which could only ave been caused by changing the brake bias as that was the only modification since Saturday. In the two races we had fantastic battles with other outfits to finish 8th in race 1 (which would have been 7th or higher if jump start penalties had been enforced on a number of other teams who were a little excitable before the lights), and a brilliant 6th in race 2. That was even more impressive because race 2 was on a flag start, which is never as clear-cut as a lights start.
The sidecar is handling beautifully now and we’re looking forward to more track time so we can really start to move up the field. The British F2 championship at Donington will be our big test, but our next outing is on Sunday at Mallory Park.