Richard Cooper heads the line up of riders set to do battle at Daley Moor’s famous season showdown this weekend as he looks to take Peter Hickman’s crown.
With a handful of heavy hitters like Daley Mathison out early due to injury as well as the non-contention of last year’s winner Hickman, who will be in attendance but not racing, Bennetts Suzuki’s Cooper looks like a shoe-in for the Stars at Darley crown.
But former Darley Moor Sound of Thunder champion Gary Henriksen and National Superstock 1000 regular Tom Fisher will be doing their best to upset the apple cart, among a host of others on the entry list.
And it won’t just be the solos in action this weekend. Three-wheeled racing fans can look foward to a Sidecar Stars at Darley equivalent this Sunday, which will feature reigning World Champion duo Ben and Tom Birchall, while former world champion passenger Patrick Farrance partners Isle of Man TT legend Dave Molyneux.
Fellow TT winners Conrad Harrison and Andy Winkle will also be lining up in a bid for outfit glory, while Morecambe Missile John McGuinness will be on site for the festivities but still not lining up as he continues his leg rehabilitation.
It’s not just the Stars that will take to the Derbyshire circuit, however, as the club still has eight championships up in the air, to be decided by one 15-lap quadruple points (36) race each.
While Andrew Lowe has already clinched the Pre Injection 600 championship, the Steel Frame 600 title is still up for grabs as Dean Ephgrave leads the standings by three points from Steve Price, who is just seven points clear of Anthony Porter with Wally Bradbury and Dave Marsden still in spitting distance of the crown.
Both classes will contest the same race for the Jake Hingley Trophy, in memory of a racer who began competing at Darley Moor in 2012 aboard a steelie before his career was cut short at Cadwell Park two year later.
Darley Moor MCRRC’s newest championship, the CB500s, has also come down to the wire as Paul Sawyer holds a slim eight points over championship rival Andy Whale.
Already a champion this year, David Carson is still keen to add to his tally by bagging the Mini Sound of Thunder title, but his Formula Darley rival Joe Walton could threaten his hopes as the latter needs just 10 points to match Carson’s count.
Bolton’s Ben Scranage leads the big bike charge in both the Peak Cup and Open Solo categories, but Chesterfield’s Andy Taylor is just nine points adrift in the former and 19 behind in the latter as it’s still all to play for.
Yamaha R6 pilot Steven Procter is still in the running for the Peak Cup despite his displacement deficit, while Scranage’s hometown compatriot Julian Tillotson and local man Carl Morris are also technically in the hunt, but have 26 and 32 points to make up, respectively.
Formula 600 Sidecar Championship leaders Dan Knight and Matthew Rostron look like shoe-ins for the title as the LCR Suzuki duo sit 25 points clear of Howard Baker and Mike Killingsworth’s Shelbourne Honda in the standings.
With a 34 point advantage already in hand, Southampton’s James Bull merely needs a points finish to secure the Formula 125 crown this weekend, but Durham youngster Jake Hopper could swoop in and steal the show if he records a win and Bull fails to finish.
The tightest of the title chases is undoubtedly the Classic 500 championship, where Dave McCoy leads Oliver Presswood by just a single point.
Racers will have a full practice day this Saturday, 7 October, while racing will commence Sunday at approximately 12 noon.
*Main image: Jennifer Charlton
*Side images: Tony Else