Last weekend, 7th October 2012, was the annual 'Stars at Darley' Race Meeting at Darley Moor. Darley Moor is in Derbyshire, located near the Peak District and, despite the rain which has been thrown our way in the last few weeks, the weather was, uncharacteristically perfect! Dan Kneen was back in action at Darley for the first time since 2005, in what proved to be a very successful outing for the Manxman.
|Dan in action at Darley - photo Steve Gough|
Three is a Magic number
Dan, sponsored by Wemoto, was on form, putting in three great rides on his Marks Bloom Racing Suzuki GSXR1000 Superbike and came in with an overall fifth place in the 'Feature Stars' Event. He also got a win in the club's 'Peak Cup' Championship.
Dan quickly reconnected with the 1.5 mile course and took eighth in the qualifier for the 'Stars' Event held over two fifteen lap legs. Despite a bit of a rocky start in the first fifteen lap race, he soon cruised up to seventh place and gave Honda TT legends rider Gary Johnson, former Stars winner Richard Cooper and John Ingram a good run for their money for fourth place. The race was stopped on lap five after Michael Pearson crashed, and Dan was awarded seventh place.
Start as you mean to go on
Dan got off to a better start on the second leg and after a fight with Cooper and Johnson, Dan held his position and came in fourth giving him an overall position of fifth.
Dan also competed in the 'Darley's Peak Cup' Championship race held over 15 laps which he won with an impressive 8.69 seconds.
Dan was pleased with his performance especially as it was a spontaneous last minute decision to go. Here's what he said about the weekend's racing.
|Dan on form at Darley. Picture Steve Gough|
From the man himself, words of Dan:
"It's been a really enjoyable weekend and I've had a great time here at Darley, It was a last minute job but I wanted to get out on the bike so just got an entry sorted and went with the superbike. The meeting's a one-off for the fans really, with a test day Saturday and racing Sunday. It's a bit of a small track with three right hander's and a few fast chicanes but good fun at the same time.
The test day went okay and I got plenty of laps in just to familiarize myself with the track. I've only ridden here once before and that was way back in 2005 when I was just starting out racing and that was actually my first race meeting off the Island so it was tough going to begin with this weekend as all the other riders race here year in year out.
I soon got dialled-in though, and got quicker and quicker with each outing and my fastest lap in the second Stars race was only 0.04s slower than John McGuinness on his TT-winning Honda so I was well happy with that."
"It was a shame the first race got red-flagged so early, as we'd only just got going but I had a good run in the second, although I could have been closer to McGuinness, had Cooper not pushed me wide at the hairpin early on.
I was third into the first chicane behind McGuinness my plan was to follow him but I nearly got wiped out by Richard Cooper at the chicane. I didn't see him but I could hear him, it was a bit of a sixth sense moment when you think 'I'm getting T-boned here' so I sat it up, good job too because he came through crossed up, legs off, out of control and I would've broken his fall! When I went straight on I lost two positions which was annoying, so I got my head down and got back past Johnson and Cooper and after a bit of a ding dong, just kept putting in fast consistent laps. There was no chance of catching John after the lap one melee so all I could do was keep the gap the same, which I did to the end and ended up fourth splitting the two Honda legend riders which I was happy with, as the competition was very strong.
I also had a good run in the Peak Cup race, which I mainly used to try a few things out on the Superbike and having missed a couple of months of racing after my TT crash, it's good to end the season strongly and with some good results."
Good Luck to Dan who is heading off to Brands Hatch this weekend - October 12-14 -where he'll contest the final round of the Metzeler National Superstock 1000cc Championship.