One of Hucknall’s leading motorcycle racers is to launch his first assault on the British Superbike Championship.
Much-sought after rider Richard Cooper (30), of Keats Drive, has been racing motorbikes competitively since the age of 12.
And in 2011, he stormed to a renowned national title in the Superstock 1000 series, which takes in some of England’s top circuits.
But now, Cooperman, as he is nicknamed, is bracing himself for his biggest challenge yet after being signed up by the professional team, TAG Racing, based in Swadlincote, Derbyshire.
The British Superbike Championship comprises 12 rounds, beginning at Brands Hatch Indy on 18th to 21st April and continuing through to October at tracks including Silverstone, Oulton Park, Cadwell Park and Donington Park.
Having spent the last two seasons racing successfully for the TAG squad in the Supersport class, Cooper was a natural choice to remain with the team as it progresses to the premier division of bike racing.
Given his experience in the European and British Superstock classes, he is also no stranger to 1000cc machines like the Kawasaki ZX-10R he will be riding in 2014.
It will be the first time Cooper has competed full-time. But he will not be a Superbike debutant, having demonstrated his prowess by winning the Cup class and qualifying impressively on the front row in a rare outing at Mallory Park in 2009. He has also competed in the World Superbike Championship for the factory BMW team.
Commenting on the season ahead, Cooper said: “The time feels right for me to move into Superbike, and I am really excited about 2014.
“I have raced across the different classes and this is the perfect opportunity to step up with TAG Racing because we have a strong foundation from working together in the Supersport class.
“We are already working with the Kawasaki so that it suits my style, which will give me confidence.
“The buzz at the moment is about BSB, so it feels to great to know that we are going to be a part of it.
“I have my targets, and we are looking for a debut season that we can build on and move forward in the future.”
Rob Winfield, the owner of TAG Racing, added: “Richard has been part of our team for two years.
“Having spent most of his career on 1000c Superstock bikes, he did an excellent job adapting to our Triumphs in Supersport and was in a different class in the last round of the championships at Brands Hatch.
“Despite that, I believe his riding style is better suited to the more powerful Superbikes and he will have no problems adapting to the ZX-10R.
“He had several offers from other teams, so we are delighted that he has put his faith in us.