RAF Reserves Honda’s Peter Hickman dominated the two ten-lap JBMI Group Stars at Darley races at the weekend. In the first race he squeezed past Honda Racing’s John McGuinness on lap three and then had to fend off a challenge from McGuinness’s team-mate, Jason O’Halloran.
The challenge required Hickman to break the outright Darley Moor lap record in order to keep him out front, finally managing a 1.4sec advantage at the flag.
It was a similar story in the second JBMI Group Stars at Darley race, although on this occasion O’Halloran was quicker off the line than his team-mate and chased Hickman for the entire race distance, finishing just under 2.5sec behind at the flag. McGuinness lost his third place to Buildbase BMW’s Lee Jackson on the penultimate lap.
The first of the regular Darley Moor riders, on both occasions, was Rob Hodson who was putting his injured father’s Kawasaki 1000 to good use, coming home ninth in the first race and tenth in the second. However, he had already put the machine to good effect in the opening Peak Cup race and took victory in the Open Solo race, between the two Stars races.
The Peak Cup race had the crowd entertained from the very start with Tim Poole leading across the line after each lap, but this didn’t tell the story, in his slipstream were another two or three riders throughout the race.
At the end the top four were separated by just over 1sec, Poole taking the victory, and the Championship title, by just 0.06sec from Matt Smith (Hartshorne), Hodson 3rd and Shane Pearson (Derby) 4th.
The Open Solo race was similar, although with just two riders dicing at the head of the field. On this occasion Hodson crossed the line at the head of the field on each lap, but Mark Littler (Burntwood) was never out of his slipstream throughout the 15laps, finishing just 0.14sec behind at the flag.
Proving he can ride any type of machine Hodson also secured victory in the combined Classic/Lightweight race, after coming across the line on Lap 1 in 4th place he hit the front on Lap 5 on his Classic 250 machine and stretched a lead of over 14sec at the flag.
After leading for the first 3 laps, Lightweight Championship leader Paul Hedison (Gainsborough) slid back to 3rd place, but then failed to complete Lap 8 allowing Chris Moore (High Peak) to finish with a class victory, the 36 points for the win allowing him to bridge the deficit in the standings and take the title at the final stage.
Gordon Thorpe (Matlock) and Jamie O’Brien (Liverpool)confirmed their champion elect status by taking the class wins in the Classic 500 and Classic 1000 respectively; and therefore the championship titles, whilst Dave Wildey (Derby) secured his inaugural Classic 350 victory.
In the combined Steel Framed 600/Pre Injection 600 race Jamie Pearson (Derby) had a relatively comfortable start – finish victory, having an 8sec margin at the flag and taking the Pre Injection title in the process. The Steel Framed 600 leaders provided a thrilling battle for the spectators despite the Championship being decided already, Lloyd Harrison (Derby) taking his first class victory ahead of this year’s Champion Dean Ephgrave (Hucknall), Harrison’s efforts being rewarded by taking 2nd place in the final standings.
It wasn’t just solo stars this weekend as sidecar fans were treated to a master class by grand prix competitors Ben and Tom Birchall (Mansfield) who, after passing the fast starting John and Jack Lowther (Scunthorpe) on the second lap were able to stretch out a victory margin of over 18sec. There was no embarrassment for anybody though as the pairing have just finished Runners-Up in the 2014 World Championship.
After overcoming the fast starting Lloyd Shelley (Burntwood) on the second lap Sound of Thunder champion elect Steven Hill (Runcorn) pulled out a small gap midway through the 15 lap race, only to see a determined Shelley closing with an equally quick finish, the gap reduced to less than 1sec at the end.
On his third type of machine of the day Rob Hodson secured the Mini Sound of Thunder class victory, taking the ‘win’ by over 25
seconds from Anthony Porter (Chesterfield), the championship Runner-Up.
Ian Morgan (Derby) secured a comfortable flag to flag victory in the Pre98 race on his (up to 1300cc) machine, Richard Stubbs (Stone) finishing 2nd to him and cement his Runner-Up spot in the Championship. With just 2points separating Alan Jones (Hednesford) and Andrew Clarke (Ashton under Lyme) in the Pre98’s (up to 500cc) class this was one that was certainly going to be going ‘down to the wire’. Despite being lapped by
several of the larger machines the pair remained in close proximity to each other with the ‘lead’ swapping on a number of occasions before finally going in favour of Jones at the flag, and with it the Championship title.
Several ‘Star’ riders took part in the Formula 600 race and got amongst the usual Darley regulars and ensured the crowd were kept entertained. After finishing the first two laps in fourth place Keenan Armstrong (Doncaster) set about chasing leader Richard Wardle (Stoke on Trent), 2014 champion Jamie Medhurst (Long Eaton) and Daley Mathison (Northern Ireland).
Third on Lap3 and second on the fourth lap Armstrong finally hit the front on Lap6 and stretched a lead of over 7sec, leaving the other three to battle it out amongst each other, finishing with Wardle 2nd; Mathison 3rd and Medhurst 4th.
In the combined Formula Darley/125 race Anthony Porter (Chesterfield) secured his first victory of the season in the Formula Darley class, taking a start to finish victory over Joshua Dransfield (Mirfield), allowing him to take the Runner-Up spot in the championship.
James Hind (Caistor) put in a determined effort and was able to turn the tables on Gavin Mills (Spalding), taking the Formula 125 class victory and moving into championship lead at the best time.