Belfast Telegraph

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Super gesture by Irwin as Cooper takes Trophy win

 

By Roy Harris

Richard Cooper powered to a Superbike hat trick, including taking a hard-fought victory in the feature Sunflower Trophy race, during a superb Hillsborough Club promotion at Bishopscourt over the weekend.

The 12-lap Sunflower race on Saturday was a thriller with three quality riders - Cooper, Danny Buchan and Michael Laverty - all taking turns at the front in a dramatic encounter that saw Cooper eventually hold off Buchan by a mere 0.015 seconds with Laverty in third, a second and a half behind the Basildon rider.

The 12-lap Sunflower race on Saturday was a thriller with three quality riders, Cooper, Danny Buchan and Michael Laverty all taking turns at the front in a dramatic encounter that saw Cooper eventually hold off Buchan by a mere 0.015 seconds with Laverty in third, a second and a half behind the Basildon rider.

Nottingham-based Buildbase Suzuki rider Cooper had led the opening five laps before Laverty nudged his way to the front forcing Cooper wide and onto the grass.

Tyco BMW rider Laverty tried to open a gap on Buchan as Cooper began a fightback from over a second behind the leaders, setting the only 100mph lap of the meeting on lap seven closing the gap to 0.3 seconds of Laverty, having snatched second from Buchan.

With two laps remaining, Laverty was forced onto the grass as he made his way past a slower rider allowing Cooper into the lead with Buchan right in his slipstream.

On the final lap Buchan swept underneath Cooper and into the lead, but at the final corner Cooper rode all the way around the outside of his rival to snatch the win.

British Superbike rider Cooper said of his weekend treble: "It was great to be invited to the meeting and for the team to take time out from their busy schedule to come to a circuit I had never seen before. We came with no expectations, but my confidence was high after my Brands Hatch BSB win, so to leave the meeting with a treble is special in front of such knowledgeable fans."

Cooper won all three Superbike races, Buchan was second in all three and Laverty third in all three with Dean Harrison fourth in all three.

The best of the Ulster Superbike runners was champion Gerard Kinghan with fifth, seventh and fifth place finishes. Carrick's Glenn Irwin was another star of the show, riding to a scintillating Supertwin double on John Burrows' Cookstown BE Kawasaki after thrilling battles with Jeremy McWilliams, who slid off in race one, Dan Cooper and Eunan McGlinchey.

In race two for the Junior Sunflower Trophy, Irwin, McWilliams and Eunan McGlinchey were locked in battle for eight highly entertaining laps with Irwin getting his nose over the finish line in front of ex-Grand Prix winner Jeremy by a 10th of a second with McGlinchey, who set a new lap record for the class on the fifth lap, less than half a second behind the two hugely more experienced riders for his second third place finish of the day in a dream debut on the McAdoo Kawasaki.

Irwin, who had pledged to donate his winnings to William Dunlop's young family, said, "Those were superb battles, but more important is the £4000 we raised thanks to various sponsors for William's young family whilst putting on a show for the fans."

There were also doubles for Eugene McManus in Moto3 on his KTM, Jonathan Aiken in Pre-Injection, Robert Kennedy took both Supersport races. Joshua Rae was master of the Young Guns while Sam Christie was the double sidecar winner.

Cooper then made the overnight journey to Mallory Park in Leicestershire and completed a double by winning yesterday's Race of the Year by a 10th of a second from team mate Bradley Rea, and also the Buildbase Trophy race.

  • Marc Marquez secured a third straight MotoGP crown, and fifth of his career, with victory in Japan.

The win at Motegi was the eighth of the season for the Spaniard and drew him level on five titles with Mick Doohan and only Valentino Rossi and Giacomo Agostini have won more.

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