Cooper stays positive after tough return to British Superbikes Championship

GLAD TO BE BACK -- Hucknall's race ace Richard Cooper, who started a new season in the British Superbikes Championship last weekend.

GLAD TO BE BACK -- Hucknall's race ace Richard Cooper, who started a new season in the British Superbikes Championship last weekend.

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Race ace Richard Cooper, of Hucknall, was determined to remain positive after a tough return to British Superbikes Championship action at Donington Park last weekend.

Cooper (32) had been sidelined by injury since last summer after breaking his arm at Thruxton halfway through his debut season in the prestigious championship.

It took him a long time to get back to full fitness, including many intensive sessions at the Rolls-Royce Leisure Club gym in Hucknall.

And it might take him a little more time to regain his best form, on the evidence of the opening round of the series in which he ended up 12th in the championship standings after the first two 20-lap races.

Qualifying at 19th on the grid, Cooper finished tenth in the first race, picking up six points, after getting locked in a battle with fellow Kawasaki rider Chris Walker and also Michael Laverty (BMW).

But in the second race, he found himself deep in the pack before making progress to finish 17th.

“They weren’t exactly the results I would have liked,” said Cooper, who rides for the Anvil Hire TAG racing team based at Swadlincote in Derbyshire.

“But I’m pleased to have some points on the board in the first meeting back after my injury.

“My fitness and training has paid off. Now we have taken some positive steps and we can look forward to the second round at Brands Hatch later this month.”

Cooper has fond memories of Brands Hatch for it was there that he finished second in the Fifth Round of the 2014 Superbikes before the crash that led to his injury not long afterwards.

The 2011 national Superstock champion has plenty of time to get into top gear for there are 12 rounds in all, stretching into October.

The leader after Donington Park is reigning champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne (Kawasaki) with 45 points, ahead of Dan Linfoot (Honda) with 33 points.

Cooper, who sports the number 47, is one of almost 40 riders taking part this year, scattered among 23 teams.

His Anvil Hire TAG teammates, Filip Backlund (24), of Sweden, and Shaun Winfield (21), son of team owner Rob Winfield, failed to get among the points at Donington.

Other tracks on the Superbikes circuit this year include Oulton Park, Snetterton, Knockhill, Cadwell Park and Silverstone.