Round Six of the Darley Moor Motorcycle Road Race Championship took place on Bank Holiday Monday and with several championship contenders absent, either taking part in the Manx Grand Prix or suffering from injuries received elsewhere, some potential champions have strengthened their grip on their respective championships’, whilst the points gap in others has been severely reduced.
There was a number of rain showers throughout the day making tyre choice a difficult decision for competitors, but it certainly didn’t dampen the spectacle for spectators with five of the 19 races being decided by less than 0.5sec!
With visitors barely having time to get settled down the first race of the day, ‘Lightweights, Steel Framed and Pre Injection 600’s’, gave spectators one of the closest finishes seen at Darley Moor for a while, Gavin Salt (Leek) taking the win by just 0.04sec!
After leading from the first lap with a one-second cushion over Pre Injection rival, Jon Skelson (Leicester), as they came across backmarkers Skelson was almost able to steal the victory at the flag.
Lying third for the first six laps, but leading the Lightweight class, Chris Spooner (Stoke on Trent) suffered even more, being passed by fellow Lightweight Championship contenders Ben Godfrey (Long Eaton) and Rob Hodson (Wigan) on the final lap.
In the second encounter the tables were turned, Skelson led lap one, but was then passed by Spooner on the second lap, and Godfrey, for second place on lap four Godfrey then chased down Spooner and passed him on the final lap to take victory by just 0.4sec! Salt could only watch the battle ahead, but had to
fight to keep the fourth place position.
With Shane Pearson (Derby) absent from the action and having to watch from the sidelines after suffering an injury elsewhere, Jim Hodson could have been forgiven for thinking he would have an easy day.
The first Peak Cup race gave no surprises with Hodson taking a comfortable victory, behind Lee Vernon (Stoke on Trent) in third place on his new BMW machine was just able to hold off a challenge from Danny Smith (Rugeley), while fellow Rugeley competitor Alan Hughes had to relinquish his fifth place on the final lap after a race long challenge from Mark Burditt (Ibstock).
Hodson also took the second Peak Cup race, this time with Vernon in second and Smith third, Burditt in sixth and Hughes tenth.
Both Open Solo races were won by Hodson, but with Lee Vernon pushing him all the way, finishing just 0.33sec behind in second place in the first encounter and a slightly larger gap in the second.
Completing a clean sweep Hodson also took both Formula 600 races from Danny Smith second, Mark Burditt third and Carl Booth (Swadlincote) fourth in the first.
Smith and Burditt repeated their results in the second encounter, Martin Harvey (Stoke on Trent) taking fourth, Gavin Salt fifth (ninth in the first) and Carl Booth eighth.
In the combined 125 GP/Formula 125 races Ricky Tarren (Tamworth) was absent from the first race but had an excellent battle for second place in the second race, finally having to settle for thred.
The Marshal’s Rider of the Day Award went to Asher Durham (Derby) after securing a third and fourth place in the Formula 125 class on his 80cc machine.
Jamie Medhurst (Long Eaton) was another regular absent from the action, forced to watch his championship disappear as James Ford (High Peak) took both race wins, Chris Gardner (Whitwick) taking second, Neil Addy (Buxton) third while Gary Dangerfield (Stonnall) was the first Mini Sound of Thunder rider home.
Addy and Gardner switched their second and third places around in the second encounter, while Dangerfield repeated his feat from the first.
In the combined Formula Darley and Pre98’s races Kevin Cooper (Stoke on Trent) took two very different victories.
The first, continuing his domination of the Pre98 class, by eight seconds from Formula Darley competitor Chris Spooner (Stoke on Trent), with Pre98 runner Gavin Heath (Leek) third and Gary Dangerfield (Stonnall) Formula Darley class fourth.
The second race win was much harder, Jon Skelson (Leicester) who failed to finish the second lap in the first race pushed Cooper throughout and had to settle for second spot by just 0.17sec at the flag, with Hodson third, Spooner fourth.