NW200 disqualification ‘makes me question our sport’ - Cooper| Phil Wain | TT and Roads
Last weekend’s North West 200 was a bitter-sweet meeting for Richard Cooper with the former National Superstock Champion and BSB race winner taking two wins, five podiums and a lap record from his five races only to lose his victories when disqualified from the two Supertwin races for a technical infringement.
Riding the JMcC Roofing/KMR Kawasaki, the 39-year old dominated both of the 4-lap encounters, winning by 8.4s and 11.2s respectively whilst also smashing the old lap record with a speed of 112.490mph. However, all of those achievements were wiped from the record books at the conclusion of the day’s racing with Cooper later making his feelings clear on his social media account.
“Regardless of what the timesheet says, the little bike did me proud. Pole position, two wins and a new lap record all taken away from me. It literally does make me question our sport at times like these.”
“One thing for sure, you’ll never be able to take away the feeling of standing on the top step pf the box with my team and family around me. JMcC Roofing Race Team & Ryan Farquhar, thank you.”
The controversy detracted from what had been a simply superb meeting for the Nottingham rider where he also excelled on the Hawk Racing Suzuki’s in just his second appearance at the meeting.
The best newcomer in 2019, Cooper, who was having his first top flight race since badly breaking his leg at Donington Park in 2020, opened his account for the week with third in Thursday’s wet Superstock race behind eventual race winner Alastair Seeley and Davey Todd.
“I was quite happy to let Davey and Alastair lead the way and pull me away from the rest of the field, but I ran on at one of the chicanes and dropped back,” he explained. “I kept plugging away, but the conditions weren’t nice at all, and it felt like we were just circulating round.”
With far superior conditions on Saturday, the opening Superbike race continued to show how quickly he’s adapted to road racing and the 8.9-mile circuit as he shadowed Glenn Irwin and Davey Todd. A brake issue held him back in the latter stages and ultimately meant he finished third.
“The first three quarters of the race were really good, and I felt comfortable, they were stronger than me in some areas, but I was stronger in others,” he said. “I lost the rear brake with two laps to go and had to ease the pace but the bike was otherwise faultless.”
Borrowing a rear brake from Michael Dunlop’s sister machine, he went better still in the feature Superbike, finishing just over two seconds behind Irwin with a lap of 124.545mph making him the third fastest rider ever around the Triangle circuit.
“The bike was a lot more consistent, and I dug in as deep as I could, but Glenn’s been on fire at BSB and I’m semi-retired! I’ve had some dark days these last two years, but Stuart and Steve (Hicken) said there was always a bike for me and they delivered what they said they would, and perhaps more.”