Daryl Gibson and Ashley Moore, representing "Gibson Racing" have had a remarkable year after joining forces in the spring of 2018. They dominated the A.C.U. / F.S.R.A. British F2 Cup series - taking eleven wins and a further podium place from fifteen starts - winning the championship by an impressive forty four points. They also placed an excellent sixth overall in the "Super F2" category against the more established teams.
Daryl (24) from Beverley, East Yorkshire, started racing in 2013 as passenger to his father, Gary. Although Daryl has assisted a number of other drivers, he has enjoyed the most success alongside Gary. Particular highlights are winning the A.C.U. / F.S.R.A. British F2 Cup in 2016, and taking two top ten finishes at the 2018 Isle of Man T.T. Races. Half way through the 2017 season, Daryl assumed the role of driver (with a number of passengers assisting him). He quickly found himself at the front of club races, and by the first weekend of September, he had gained sufficient experience to dispense with his novice jacket. In fact, his last licence upgrade signature was achieved at the "Jock Taylor Trophy" meeting, when he (and passenger Tom Christie) were stood on the podium alongside two of the leading sidecar teams in the country - Steve Kershaw / Stuart Clark (F1) and Lee Crawford / Scott Hardie (F2)!
Ashley (27) of Hatfield, Hertfordshire, like Daryl, has followed his father (Bruce) into the sport. He made his passengering debut in 2011, finishing second in that season's N.G.R.R.C. championship, and then second and third in the B.M.C.R.C. championships in the following two years. In 2014, Ashley progressed to the British F2 series, placing third, and scoring his debut win at this level at Cadwell Park. Ashley has continued to race in British F2 races and also in a number of British F1 races held alongside B.S.B., with success in both.
Despite being one of the youngest pairings on the grid at the start of 2018, Daryl and Ashley quickly gelled, drawing upon their considerable experience and quickly began to establish themselves amongst the early season favourites. The opening round of this year's A.C.U. / F.S.R.A. British F2 Championship was at Croft. Daryl and Ashley immediately stamped their authority in wet qualifying, setting the sixth fastest overall time, five places clear of the second F2 Cup team. They were unchallenged in both F2 Cup races, winning the first race - held in torrential rain - by over thirty seconds, and race two - in contrasting dry conditions - by almost forty seconds, setting the fastest lap in both encounters.
Wet weather was on the agenda once again at round two, held at Lincolnshire's Cadwell Park. Qualifying saw Daryl and Ashley end the session fifth overall - again fastest of the F2 Cup runners. However, there was immediate disappointment for the pair at the start of race one, as a broken chain immediately sidelined them. Race two was a disjointed affair, littered with incidents and red flags - including one such misdemeanour on the warm up lap! Non-finishers from the first race start at the back of the grid in the second encounter, with Daryl and Ashley riding a mature race to win the F2 Cup category and finish eighth overall. This was particularly impressive as this result was decided over a distance of only four laps (having been the third restart, with yet another red flag at half distance).
2018 will be remembered by many for the seemingly endless hot summer, and this was in it's infancy as the championship arrived at Mallory Park for round three on the first of the May Bank Holiday weekends. Daryl and Ashley qualified third fastest of the F2 Cup teams, having completed fewer laps than others in the session, clearly with more speed to come. Unfortunately, the heat took it's toll on the teams in race one, with half of the field retiring - amongst whom were Gibson Racing. However, Daryl and Ashley more than made amends in the second outing, finishing fifth overall, winning the F2 Cup class from the back of the grid by almost ten seconds, also setting the fastest F2 Cup race lap of the weekend.
There was then a thirteen week gap to accommodate the Isle of Man T.T. and Southern 100 Races. Competing in their second T.T. Gary and Daryl qualified fourteenth (from their initial start number of twenty nine), taking eighth place in race one and tenth in race two - winning bronze replicas in both, with a best average race speed of over 109mph - a truly outstanding achievement. They also contested the excellent "Sidecar Revival" event at Cadwell Park a fortnight later, taking all four F2 sidecar wins in dominant fashion.
The British Championship resumed at the end of July at Anglesey, with the weather breaking - gale force winds and horizontal rain threatened to put the meeting in jeopardy. Although proceedings were severely delayed, the programme was rescued, and once again Daryl and Ashley were the fastest F2 Cup team in qualifying. They continued this form into the race, winning both F2 Cup events by thirteen seconds, setting the fastest laps in both, as well as finishing sixth and fifth respectively in the Super F2 category.
The second half of the British F2 campaign kicked off at Donington Park in August. Daryl and Ashley once again qualified as the fastest F2 Cup team, and fifth overall. A dominant win in race one saw the pair take a commanding lead in the F2 Cup championship chase, having scored seven wins from nine starts. However, race two was a frustrating disappointment. Spots of rain were falling as the outfits set off the line into Redgate, and a bit of contact between some of the leading machines saw one of them spin, leaving Daryl and Ashley nowhere to go but into the gravel trap - this evasive action putting them out of the race almost immediately.
August Bank Holiday weekend saw the second visit of the season to Croft, with similar results to the opening round held there back in April. Daryl and Ashley were again the fastest of the F2 Cup teams in qualifying - placing fourth overall. They cantered to the F2 Cup win in the opening race by a margin of almost thirty seconds in dry conditions. However, race two saw a circuit with patches of standing water following persistent heavy rain. Starting on the front row of the grid, Daryl and Ashley had arguably their best performance of the season, winning the F2 Cup by almost a full minute, and finishing second overall to land their first Super F2 podium together.
The penultimate round of the series was at Castle Combe in early September, held in dry conditions throughout. Despite being a newcomer driver to the circuit, Daryl quickly got to grips with the venue, and he and Ashley were once again the fastest F2 Cup machine throughout the weekend. They took maximum points in both races, and the fastest F2 Cup laps to take a thirty eight point lead into the season finale at Oulton Park.
With thoughts on securing the F2 Cup Championship, Daryl and Ashley approached the final round at Oulton Park with trepidation. Another tricky weekend with unpredictable weather under Autumnal early-October skies meant that track conditions were ever-changing and tyre choice became something of a lottery throughout the day (this being a single-day meeting). Setting the fastest lap of the F2 Cup teams in qualifying, Daryl and Ashley approached the race sensibly, placing third and guaranteeing them the necessary points to take the F2 Cup title. They eased their pace in the latter stages as their wet tyres began to deteriorate on a rapidly drying track. With a forty four point lead, they could look forward to an enjoyable final race without any pressure. However, this was not to be - after weather conditions once again caused problems, with two aborted starts then a red flag in the early stages of race two - and little chance of time permitting a further restart - the British F2 Championship had reached it's conclusion.
Daryl has achieved the unique feat of winning the A.C.U. / F.S.R.A. British F2 Cup Championship as a passenger (to Gary in 2016) and as a driver only two years later. Daryl and Ashley intend to build upon their successes in this series and look to firmly establish themselves as Super F2 contenders in 2019. Beyond that, Daryl hopes to compete as a driver in the 2020 Isle of Man T.T. Races.
Gibson Racing is a small, self-funded team and all success has been hard earned. Daryl and Ashley would like to thank all those who have helped them this season, particularly Gary Gibson, Mick Walmsley and their families.