Hucknall star Richard Cooper thrills crowds at Darley Dale Race Club meeting

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Darley Moor Motor Cycle Road Race Club had a late boost for their entries at Round Three of their championship when Hucknall’s multiple Stars at Darley winner, Richard Cooper, announced his intention to take part in the Formula 600 class.

As always, once the practice sessions are over there are two 10-lap non-championship races getting the action underway.

The second for ‘Up to 1300cc’ machines was the first opportunity for Cooper to line up on the grid on his 600cc machine, however also on the grid was a former 1000cc bike, raced by Cooper, now in the possession of Daz Bellworthy (Derby), a friend of Cooper’s.

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As the flag dropped it was Cooper who made the best start, crossing the line, at the end of the opening lap almost one second ahead of Bellworthy and by lap four the advantage was almost four seconds.

Richard Cooper in Darley Dale action.Richard Cooper in Darley Dale action.
Richard Cooper in Darley Dale action.

But a mistake on lap five saw Bellworthy sneak through into the lead and stretch out an advantage of over two seconds by the end of lap six.

Cooper halved that by lap seven and at the chequered flag was just 0.3 seconds behind Bellworthy.

The Formula 600 machines offered Cooper’s second opportunity for a race win, but after lap one he was languishing down in 13th place, over 16 seconds behind leader Ben Dale (Warrington), who enjoyed a three second lead over James Ford (High Peak).

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But Cooper thrilled spectators with rapid progress, with the help of setting the fastest lap of the day on lap seven and passing Dale for the lead on the penultimate lap, only to make a mistake on the final lap and allow Dale to pip him to the flag by just 0.17 seconds, the closest finish of the day, with Ford in third place.

Cooper finally achieved what most thought a foregone conclusion in previous races in his third and final outing with his only victory of the day with a four second advantage over Dale, with Ford taking another third.

The final races for solo machines were the combined Pre-Electronic 600 and Classic classes which Dean Ephgrave (Hucknall) managed to lead across the line in both races. The first saw the top three split by just 1.1 second at the flag with Rich Chivers-Jarvis (Hucknall) second and Wayne Kemp (Manchester) third.