As the sun set over team Dilligaf HQ, the Dilligaf convoy set off for their second expedition to England’s finest hill side road racing circuit, Oliver’s Mount Scarborough, where winds are sure to blow and the rain is sure to fall, for the 2015 Barry Sheene Road Racing Festival. Rider Steve Moody was competing in the modern Junior 600 races, which were taking place on both days of this two day classic bike festival. This weekend, Steve was riding for the recovery of Christopher Burton; this young man was seriously injured in an accident recently and team were raising funds for his much needed long term care following his horrific injuries.
As the sun rose the next morning, typical for Oliver’s Mount as it wasn’t race day, the team with their luxurious home from home, the Dilligaf caravan, arrived and set up camp in a prime location in the paddock; next to the toilet block and race office.
The next morning the forecast rains started to fall. The forecast for practice was scattered showers, and true to form, the Mount saw scattered showers, in between the heavy down pours.
On a very wet day one, with ContiRaceAttack Rain tyres fitted, Steve qualified 6th on the grid with a 2:08s lap time behind Daley Mathison, James Neeson and Billy Redmayne, but also in front of Ivan Lintin, James Cowton and local ambassador for the circuit, Rodger Wibberley. Steve pleased with his qualifying result, knew the race was going to be a fierce battle with such strong opposition just a few feet behind him on the grid, and holding onto 6th was going to be a near impossible task.
The weather did not improve and the rain continued to fall, leaving standing water in many places on the track as riders lined up on the grid for the first of the two Junior 600 races. A total of 29 entries for the race had resulted in a grid of 23 skillful riders, and Moody was sat on the second row as the green flag and red mist went down.
Moody got off to a soggy flying start and was 5th out of Mere hairpin on lap 1 as riders scuffled for positions. It wasn’t long before Ivan Lintin squeezed past on the tight tree lined circuit and headed straight for the top spot, overtaking Daley Mathison on his surge for the lead. Conditions were torrential; by Steve’s own admission it was more basic survival than racing. Limited circuit knowledge and spray meant Steve had to ‘guess’ some breaking and turning in points. The team praised the ContiRaceAttack Rain tyres as they maintained their grip, as Steve struggled to keep the front wheel down coming out of the tight first gear hairpins. Against some strong opposition and on a very wet and slippery circuit in adverse racing conditions, he finished a very credible 10th with a best wet lap time of 2:05:090s.
Next morning, day two of racing, the team woke to sunshine and put on a new pair of ContiRaceAttack Comp tyres on their Triumph 675. Steve determined to do well, stubbed his knee on the grass in his eagerness, jarring his hip, in the practice session, which resulted in him qualifying 12th on the grid with a dry lap time of 2 minutes dead.
After a parade lap of classic bikes with top riders such as Mick Grant taking centre stage, Steve headed out for his second and final race of the weekend. All riders were eager to do well and the look of determination could be seen staring through each visor on the starting grid. Again Steve got off to a good start but no one was out there to be beaten. Battle commenced as riders surged into Meres Hairpin and up Quarry Hill. Supporters could only watch and cheer Moody as riders jostled for positions and swapped places lap by lap. Steve, failing to adapt from short circuit to road racing mode, had a Marc Marquez moment when he went for an overtake at Farm bends resulting in a short diversion on the grass.
Racing was as tight as the track itself. Steve battled with riders Chris Cook and David Lewis for 10th with only 100th of a second separating the trio as they passed the chequered flag just two ten Tenths of a second behind 9th place man, Callum Ward. Steve finished in 12th, where he started, with his best ever lap time around this technical hill side road racing track with a 1:55:494s lap.
All photo credits to Steve McDonald.