DARLEY Moor shut its doors on the 2017 season this weekend with the famous Stars event, where eight final club champions were crowned.
Ben Scranage had already ensured his name was on some of the silverware when he took the opening race of the day, the Peak Cup, with a start-to-finish victory and subsequently raised the championship trophy.
Then after lying second for much of the Open Solo race while closing the gap on front-runner Darren Bellworthy, the Kawasaki rider made his move for the lead three laps from the end and stretched out a 1.2-second gap at the flag to double up on titles and clinch Open Solo championship. Scranage also managed third on aggregate in the Stars at Darley races.
Chesterfield’s Ross Richards also chalked up a lights-to-flag win in the combined Formula Darley/Lightweight race on his ER650 over 10 seconds clear of David Carson, who had already secured the championship at the last round.
In the Lightweight ranks, Phil Leatherland took victory in fifth overall from Graham Wilson and Tony Griffiths, with champ Chris Moore missing from the grid.
Richards and Carson were also battling it out for honours in the Sound of Thunder race. Carson made a slow start that dropped him back to ninth on the first lap as Richards escaped up to fourth.
At the flag, Carson had climbed four places up to fifth as he finished second in class to Mini Sound of Thunder winner Richards in third overall, but second in class gave Carson enough to secure the title – his second of the season.
With Lloyd Shelley concentrating on the Stars at Darley battles and already confirmed champion, again, of the Sound of Thunder class, Crewe’s Rich Baker led the first three laps of the SoT scrap.
But Durham native James Alderson passed him on lap four and stretched out a lead of almost 10 seconds at the flag as Baker came home in a lonely runner-up spot to secure second in the standings behind Shelley.
In the combined Steel Frame 600/Pre-Injection 600 race it was newly-crowned champ Andrew Lowe who bagged a dominant victory and the Jake Hingley Trophy for his overall win, some five seconds clear of Matt Smith.
The trophy’s namesake Hingley began his career with Darley Moor MCRRC in 2012, but his career was cut short in an accident at Cadwell Park in 2014. His father Neil was on hand to personally present Lowe the trophy.
While Dean Ephgrave held a slim three-point advantage in the Steel Frame title chase heading into the final round, it was his second-closest rival Antony Porter who leapfrogged both Ephgrave and previous points runner-up Steve Price in the standings with a win to clinch the steely championship.
The new-for-2017 CB500 title fight was another to have a plot twist as points leader Paul Sawyer was eclipsed by Birmingham’s Andy Whale.
Sawyer managed to get a faster start and lead for the first three laps with Whale in hot pursuit until Bellworthy fought his way through to second on lap three and to the front on lap four.
But Sawyer’s luck began to run out as he tumbled back down to 12th on lap five and then failed to finish lap six as Whale crossed the line second some six seconds behind Bellworthy but with enough points to be crowned champion.
The outfit race had some special guests as recently-crowned World Champions Ben and Tom Birchall brought their TT-winning F2 along for a play, joining fellow TT-winning duo Conrad Harrison and Andy Winkle on the grid.
Unfortunately the sidecar race was cut short when an accident brought out the red flags, but the Birchalls brought their machine home for a clear victory ahead of Harrison/Winkle and Dan Knight/Matthew Rostron, the latter of whom secured the Formula 600 Sidecar title.
Honda K4-mounted Simon Collins managed to take the Classic 350 crown despite a DNF, while Dave McCoy clinched the Classic 500 title aboard his Norton.
*Main image: Neil Kirby
*Side images: Tony Else