Darley Moor Race Preview



A very special race meeting last weekend, 13th/14th April for the Darley Moor Motor Cycle Road Race Club as they celebrated the 60th Anniversary of the very first race meeting held at the then named Darley Moore, on Good Friday, 16th April 1965, with an admission price of 10s 00d.

Throughout those years many great names and true ambassadors of motor cycle sport have raced with the Club: Bill Smith, Bob Heath, Harvey Porter, George O’Dell, The Hardy Brothers and in more recent times, from the World Superbike Championship and MotoGP, Alex & Sam Lowes and Cal Crutchlow to name but a few.

The Club holds a unique position amongst the many motor cycle road race clubs throughout the Country in that it operates its own venue, the Darley Moor Sports Centre, near Ashbourne, DE6 2ET (or What3Words: bounty.behalf.charm).

The Club are still the proud holders of the most winners of Club Team awards at the Isle of Man TT races until they were ended in recent years, helping the Club gain its nickname of “The Starmakers” a very fitting title indeed.

The person who had the vision and determination for Darley Moore, in 1964, was elected Club Chairman, in 1965, and incredibly is still at the helm to this day, having seen the Club grow to what it is now.   For his efforts and tenacity over the many years, the Club were delighted to give, Don Ryder, his very own special Lap of Honour prior to the racing getting underway.

The Club Championship has received a minor change for this year in that each race will receive championship points, effectively making this a 12 Round Championship.

Onto the racing and who could have predicted the opening meeting of the season, in April, would enjoy sunshine over both days, this really is a special year!! 

Race 1 saw the combined Open and Pre-Injection Open machines take to the grid and setting the scene for a great day’s racing.  Adam Walters (Derby) was quickest off the line, finishing Lap 1 with a 1sec advantage over Matthew Bell (Sheffield) with Mark Goodings (Doncaster) in his slipstream, all on Open machines.  On Lap3 Goodings squeezed pass Bell and by the end of Lap4 there was still less than 1sec between the pair, with Walters 1.4sec ahead.  With Goodings lapping approximately 0.5sec quicker per lap Walters time at the front was limited, but catching and passing are two different things.  By Lap7 just 0.2sec separated the pair, Walters still holding the advantage with a significant gap to Bell in 3rd spot.  It wasn’t until Lap9 that Goodings found his way pass and held on for victory in the 10lap race by just 0.55sec.   Winner of the Pre-Injection class was Daniel Stubbs (Stoke on Trent) who finished the opening lap 6th overall before getting amongst the Open class machines and finally finishing 4th Overall.  Their second race saw a similar pattern at the head of the field with Walters the fastest off the line, but with Goodings 2nd, Bell 3rd and Richard Eglin (Derby), who didn’t make the grid for the opening race, 4th.  after the opening lap.   Eglin had found a way through on Bell by Lap2, whilst  Goodings hit the front on Lap4 and the leading quartet circulating in that order until the end, with Goodings stretching out his advantage to 2sec at the chequered flag.  Stubbs again finished highest Pre-Injection machine in 6th place, coming out on top of a race long battle between the Pre-Injection machines of Ian McKenzie (Long Eaton) and Mark Brailsford (Chesterfield), 2nd and 3rd in class, respectively.

Race4, the opening Ben Godfrey Trophy race, saw the Goodings/Walters/Bell trio dominate once again with Walters proving to be the master off the line, before Bell hit the front on Lap2, whilst Goodings moved into 2nd place on Lap3.  Bell ‘enjoyed’ a 1.5sec advantage on Lap4 at the head of the field, but this was the largest gap he had, for the next 4laps it would be no more 0.3sec, then Goodings made his move on Lap9 for the lead and Walters then dropped Bell down to 3rd on the final lap.  In 4th place was Joe Holdsworth (Huddersfield), on his second season at Darley Moor, the highest placed 600cc machine.  The second Ben Godfrey Trophy race saw this quartet finish in the same order, again with Walters quickest off the line and holding the lead until Lap7, when Goodings again made his way through, from 3rd on the opening lap, 2nd on Lap4 and 1st on Lap8.  Walters recording another 2nd, whilst Holdsworth finished just 1.3sec behind Bell, in 4th place.

The new Open 600 class gave Goodings yet another win in the opening race, taking a flag-to-flag victory, with Holdsworth 2nd, just 2.5sec behind at the flag, after finishing the opening lap in 4th place and having to find a way pass Adam Green (Stone) and David Carson (Northwich).  The second encounter would see Goodings beaten for the first time, by Holdsworth who enjoyed a start – finish victory.  Holdsworth enjoyed an 1.2sec advantage over Goodings after the opening lap and this increasing to almost 2sec after Lap2, but then Goodings had the bit between his teeth, although despite the fastest lap of the race on Lap8 he could not find a way pass, eventually finishing just 0.15sec behind at the chequered flag, with Carson taking 3rd place on both occasions.

Prior to his Open 600 3rd place Carson had already opened his weekend’s victory tally, firstly in the opening Darley Cup race, Race 2, on the day.  Lying 3rd after the opening lap, 4sec behind leader Nick Clare (Winsford), then moving into 2nd place on Lap2, before finding a way pass Clare on Lap5.   A similar scenario occurred in the first combined Pre-Electronic 600/700 Twin class; 3rd after the opening lap behind Sean Seddon (Northop) leading, on a similar Twins machine and Adam Sheriff (Barnsley) 2nd, the first Pre-Electronic 600 machine, then 2nd on Lap2 and hitting the front on Lap3 and stretching out an 11sec lead at the flag, over Seddon, with Sheriff a similar distance back in 3rd and Clare, 4th.  Carson’s third victory of the day came in the second Darley Cup race after taking a start-finish win, ahead of Clare again.  The second combined Pre-Electronic 600/700 Twin race saw Sean Seddon quickest off the line again with Carson 2nd in his slipstream until finding a way through on Lap3 and opening a 6.6sec advantage at the chequered flag, for his fourth victory of the day, with Seddon, Sheriff and Clare 2nd, 3rd, 4th respectively, again.  Sheriff taking his second class victory with his Pre-Electronic 600 machine.  The combined Forgotten Era/650Twins races gave Sheriff the opportunity to be the first overall across the finishing line after a start-finish victory in the first race, with Martin Davis (Manchester) enjoying a race long battle with 650 Twins class winner, Daniel Pearson (Brough), split by less than 0.5sec at the flag.  The second race saw Pearson quickest off the blocks and lead the opening lap before Sheriff found his way through on Lap2, but then the pair kept the crowd entertained at the head of the field with an excellent battle, finally separated by just 0.05sec at the flag; Sheriff taking his fourth win of the day and Pearson his second 650 Twins victory.

Peter Fell (Burton on Trent) was to be another multiple winner on this special day, with him opening his tally in the first Wilson Trophy, Race 3 with a start-finish victory.  Fell enjoyed a 6.6sec advantage at the end of the 10lap race after leaving Stoke on Trent competitors Jordan Poole and Matt Zschiesche to fight it out over 2nd and 3rd places.  After being in Zschiesche’ slipstream throughout, never more than 0.5sec splitting the pair, with the help of a backmarker, Poole found a way pass on the final lap to take 2nd place by just 0.13sec.   The second race got underway in similar fashion with Fell at the front, but after failing to finish Lap3 he handed the lead to Poole, with Zschiesche just 0.5sec behind and finding a way pass on Lap4, but the pair enjoyed another close battle until Poole failed to finish Lap8, allowing Zschiesche to cruise home for the victory. 

The Fell/Zschiesche/Poole trio were also lining alongside each other in the combined Lightweight/CB500 races, albeit Fell in the Lightweight and Zschiesche/Poole in the CB500 class.  Fell took his second start-finish victory of the day, followed throughout by Freddy Oakley (Chesterfield) on another Lightweight machine.  After a race long battle again, in which they were never more than 0.3sec apart, once Zschiesche had taken 2nd place on Lap2, eventually split by just 0.25sec at the flag.  For the second combined Lightweight/CB500 race  the trio now consisted of Fell/Oakley and Zschiesche after Poole’s failing to finish the second Wilson Trophy encounter resulted in him not lining up for the final race of the day.  This race gave another 1-2 for Fell, his 3rd victory of the day, and Oakley finishing 5sec behind, with Zschiesche taking the CB500 victory. 

Fans of three-wheeled motorsport were treated to a master class by Dan Knight/Ben Hughes (Congleton/Northwold) in the opening race taking a start-finish victory, on their 600cc outfit, by 26sec, leaving Martin Best/Taylor Oldroyd (Grantham/Wakefield) to pip Steve Thomas/Danny Lewis (Wirral/Wirral) to the Open Class victory by just 0.5sec.  The second race saw the outfit of Howard Baker/Mike Killingsworth make the grid  on their 600cc machine and gave Knight/Hughes a tougher race.  Baker/Killingsworth lead the opening four laps before Knight/Hughes found a way through and stretched out another commanding lead to take their second victory, with Best/Oldroyd taking the Open class victory with 3rd overall.

A fantastic day’s racing, with some surprisingly excellent weather helped make this special meeting, but with this being the 60th season there is sure to be more ‘special events’ throughout the season to look forward to.  However, there is a bit of a gap before the next Club Championship meeting, on 16th June 2024, but please check www.darleymoor.co.uk for other race meetings throughout the year.

The action on track will  begin at 10am, with the first race scheduled for 11.30am. Advance tickets at are available now, just visit www.darleymoorstore.com: Saturday Adults £7, Seniors £5 and Sunday Adults £13, Seniors £10 (Sunday On The Day prices of £16 and £12, respectively). 

Championship Standings (after Rounds 1 & 2)

Forgotten Era & Classic up to 500cc

1st Steve Price, 30pts; 2nd Chris Barton, 24pts; 3rd Iain Davis, 20pts

Forgotten Era & Classic up to 1300cc

1st Adam Sheriff, 30pts; 2nd Martin Davis, 24pts; 3rd Martyn Cooper, 20pts

Wilson Trophy

1st Matt Zschiesche, 25pts; 2nd James Tucker, 17pts, 3rd Lee Threlfall, 16pts

Darley Cup

1st David Carson, 30pts; 2nd Nick Clare, 24pts; 3rd Aron Redmond, 20pts

Ben Godfrey Trophy

1st Mark Goodings, 30pts; 2nd Adam Walters, 24pts; 3rd Matthew Bell, 20pts

Open 600cc 2024

1st Mark Goodings & Joe Holdsworth, 27pts; 3rd David Carson, 20pts

Pre-Electronic Open Solos 2024

1st Daniel Stubbs, 30pts; 2nd Mark Brailsford & Ian McKenzie, 22pts

Open Solos

1st Mark Goodings, 30pts; Adam Walters, 24pts; 3rd Matthew Bell, 18pts

Pre-Electronic 600cc 2024

1st Adam Sheriff, 30pts; 2nd Nick Clare, 24pts; 3rd Anthony Martin, 20pts

Twin Cylinder up to 650cc

1st Daniel Pearson, 30pts; 2nd Ben Wilkinson, 24pts; 3rd Paul Evans, 20pts

Twin Cylinder 655 to 700cc

1st David Carson, 30pts; 2nd Sean Seddon, 24pts; 3rd Aron Redmond, 20pts

Lightweight Class

1st Peter Fell, 30pts; 2nd Freddy Oakley, 24pts; 3rd Chris Barton, 20pts

Honda CB500 & Suzuki Bandits

1st Matt Zschiesche, 30pts; 2nd James Tucker & Liam Taylor, 20pts

Formula 600 Sidecars

1st Dan Knight/Ben Hughes, 30pts; 2nd Richard Butler/Kenny Cole, 22pts; 3rd Al Crowe/Ray Whitnall, 18pts

Open Sidecars to 1300cc

1st Martin Best/Taylor Oldroyd, 30pts; 2nd Steve Thomas/Danny Lewis, 12pts



By Brian George Photography/PR


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