Ray and Cooper team up at Hawk Suzuki for BSB 2018

Picture: Impact Images

Young gun Bradley Ray and relative veteran Richard Cooper have signed to ride for Hawk Suzuki in next year’s MCE British Superbike Championship under the tutelage of Stuart Hicken.

Ray made leaps and bounds in his rookie season this year, bagging a podium and was a top-five challenger while Cooper comes back into the blue riband class after a year in Pirelli Superstock 1000 where he finished second. Australian Billy McConnell will take up the cudgels for in the litre-bike class.

“I’m really happy to be re-signing for Suzuki, and stepping up to the official team. Last season was obviously my first year on a superbike and it was a learning year for me, but we improved every time we went out and by the end of the year we could challenge for the top six regularly, and also finished on the podium,” said Ray.

“With a year of experience under my belt and also a year of development complete for the team with the new GSX-R1000, I’m already looking forward to 2018, and the aim has got to be to keep improving and fight for the Showdown.

Cooper added: “I’m so excited to be a full time BSB rider again, it was a bitter pill to swallow for me moving back into sSuperstock this year but looking at the season we had with the new GSX-R1000 and the position I’m in now you could say it was a good move.

“The team now have a year’s development behind the bike and even when they wasn’t getting the results they deserved early in the season I knew how much potential was there which showed at the end of the year. I was lucky enough to do the final two rounds of BSB so I’ve got a very good idea where the bike is compared to the other bikes on track.

“We’re now back to just two Superbikes which was very important to me and I know that teaming up with Brad we can deliver results. I have five BSB podiums to my name and I fully intend to make that more in 2018.”

“Superstock is becoming more and more important for manufacturers, to really show what their bikes can do, out of the crate. Last year we saw how competitive the new GSX-R1000 was in its first year, so I’m looking forward to getting on it next season, with the aim of fighting for the title,” said McConnell.

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