ANOTHER impressive pair of performances saw Anvil Hire TAG Racing’s Richard Cooper move into the top 10 of the 2014 British Superbike Championship last weekend.
Both rider and his Swadlincote-based team are enjoying their debut season in the elite competition and the 30-year-old from Nottingham posted 11th and ninth place finishes in two hectic 30 lap encounters at Scotland’s twisty Knockhill circuit, placing his Kawasaki ZX-10R ahead of a number of experienced competitors.
Cooper said: “I can drive home happy after that!
“We dug deep today and pulled out two good results, but we are handicapping ourselves with the qualifying.
“The team are all working really hard and we’re finding a good race set-up, but we are struggling to get the best out of the SC0 (soft) tyre in qualifying.
“Although (Tommy) Bridewell passed me late in the last race, he was coming back through after having some kind of problem.
“Even so, we’ve finished ahead of some good riders in both races and gave a good account of ourselves.”
Starting from 15th on the grid in the opening race, Cooper made one of his typically fast starts to move into the top 10, in the group fighting for a top six finish.
After some exciting tussles, Cooper finally brought his machine home in 11th place.
Despite the strong result, Cooper’s best lap of the race placed him a distant 17th on the grid for the afternoon’s second race.
Another outstanding first lap placed him 11th as he crossed the line for the first time and he was able to consistently pick off rivals to move up to eighth for the majority of the race.
After losing a position to the recovering Bridewell a few laps before the end, Cooper brought the machine home in ninth – moving him into the top 10 of the championship.
Cooper was the only TAG Racing superbike rider at Knockhill, with team-mate Mitchell Carr still recovering from the shoulder injury sustained last time out at Snetterton.
In the British Supersport Championship, Sam Hornsey had a mixed weekend on the team’s Triumph Daytona 675.
The Shropshire youngster showed some real pace but suffered crashes in both qualifying and race two, although he did finish a gritty eighth in Saturday’s rain-shortened sprint race.
In the Superstock 1000 event, local rider Shaun Winfield brought the team’s Kawasaki ZX-10R home in a season’s best 19th.