Round 7 of the Darley Moor Motor Cycle Road Race Club’s Championship provided something for every motorsport fan with machines spanning a 30-year period competing in the Thunderfest Time Trial, machinery from the 90s through to modern day competing for the regular two wheeled Darley Championships.
From the very first race spectators knew they were in for another superb days racing after the combined Lightweights/Steel Framed 600 and Pre Injection 600 race produced a superb battle at the head of the field.
Jon Skelson (Leicester) managing to hold off a challenge from Chris Sammons (Chesterfield) who has been absent since recording a win at the first round.
In their second race Sammons – pictured in action – showed the field that he had certainly not forgotten his way around the circuit, taking the victory by over ten seconds and moving to 4th place in the Steel-framed standings.
Gavin Salt (Leek) was the 2nd pre-injection machine home in the first encounter, but turned the tables on Skelson in the second, maintaining his 10 point deficit in the standings.
Unfortunately, Ben Godfrey (Long Eaton) could not hang onto his Lightweight Championship lead, Rob Hodson (Wigan) beating him to the line on both occasions.
Chris Spooner (Stoke on Trent) followed the pair across the line in both races and cemented his 3rd place in the standings.
Hodson and Spooner also battled it out on track in the combined Formula Darley and Pre 98 races.
With Anthony Porter (Chesterfield) needing just four points to secure the first Formula Darley title he did enough by finishing 4th and 5th in the two races.
Hodson had to hold off Gavin Heath (Leek) each time, on a Pre98 machine, to take both race wins and putting him up to 2nd in the standings, while Spooner finished 3rd rider home on each occasion and slipped to 3rd in the Formula Darley Championship.
Wez Pearce (Derby) secured the smaller Pre98 (up to 500cc) Championship after extending his Championship lead to 25 points.
In the second race of the day Shane Pearson (Derby) pipped Jim Hodson (Wigan) to the line by just 0.11sec, in a race long Peak Cup battle.
Just behind these two, Richard Wardle (Stoke on Trent) and Danny Smith (Rugeley) were having their own battle for 3rd place, Wardle crossing the line less than 0.3sec ahead.
The second encounter wasn’t quite as close, but Pearson could not get in front of Hodson this time and had to settle for 2nd place in both the race and the standings, while Wardle and Smith’s positions were repeated, mirroring their Championship places.
With Hodson not coming to the grid for the first Open Solo race Pearson was able to take his second win of the day, but the pair continued the battle in the second, Hodson taking both the race victory and another championship title.
With just 3 points separating Hodson from Wardle at the head of the Formula 600 standings and Smith in 3rd place, you could guarantee that these races would also be frantic.
However, it wasn’t Hodson that almost stopped Wardle from taking another win, Smith led for the first 5 laps before Wardle caught and passed him, finally taking the win by just 0.5sec.
There was to be no repeat in the second race, leading from the flag Wardle took the win with Smith following him home for 2nd, with Hodson failing to finish it leaves Wardle with just 2 points to get at the Final Round to secure the title.
In the combined GP125 and Formula 125 races Ricky Tarren (Tamworth) secured a victory in the first race, by almost 8 seconds, but couldn’t repeat it in the second having to follow championship rival Andrew Fisher (Kettering) home by just 0.24sec!
The gap between the two in the standings remains at 13 points, but with championship leader Jamie Hodson absent this weekend his lead has been reduced.
In the Formula 125 class Asher Durham (Derby) recorded two 4th places which has moved him into 3rd place in the Championship standings.
With the ages of machines taking part in the Thunderfest event ranging from 25 to 55 years old, a race is obviously going to favour the more recent machinery, but the winner of Thunderfest didn’t have to be the fastest.
The winner was the competitor who, after a practice session and one 8-lap ‘race’, could predict their own race speed for ‘Race 2’ which was a 16-lap session.
Amazingly, Frank Jones (Whitchurch) on a 1969 Triumph was within 0.05sec of his prediction.
Local competitors Tony Head (Arnold) and Martyn Hartshorne (Swadlincote) were 8th and 9th respectively, 0.39sec and 0.57sec away from their prediction.
The Sound of Thunder machines returned the track action back to normal and with Jamie Medhurst sill absent through injury James Ford (High Peak) wasn’t quite able to clinch the Championship title this weekend.
After leading throughout Ford was passed on the final lap by Steven Hill (Runcorn) and beaten to the line by just 0.2sec.
Ford made sure the same did not happen in their second encounter taking the victory by over 7 seconds and putting one hand on the Championship.
Just 1 point in the Final Round will prevent Medhurst from finishing on equal points, if he returns.
Being the first Mini Sound of Thunder machine home on each occasion Anthony Porter (Chesterfield) extended his Championship lead beyond the reach of Gary Dangerfield (Stonnall) who took advantage of his rivals absence at the previous round.
As always the final round will be the Stars at Darley meeting on Sunday, October 2, with Practice the day before.