Stroud’s Daniel Cooper secured his best ever finish at the Isle of Man TT Races on Wednesday when he claimed an excellent fifth place in the four-lap Lightweight race.
Inclement weather on the island had resulted in a number of practice sessions being cancelled, which obviously meant all riders had limited track time around the 37.73-mile Mountain Course and were unable to get the machines set up to their liking, particularly the Superbike and Superstock bikes.
Nevertheless, Dan was competitive in all classes, especially the Lightweight where he lapped at 116.096mph to place fourth quickest on the leaderboard. Confident the four-lap race would give him his best finish, a strong opening lap of 117.073mph put him in sixth place on the KW Electrical Services Kawasaki.
Second time around and Dan moved up to fifth place and although he wasn’t quite close enough to challenge for fourth, a superb final lap of 118.612mph, his fastest ever lap on a Lightweight machine, secured him fifth place and another silver replica.
In what was a busy day, Dan had earlier completed the Superstock race, which was also held over four laps. Completing the first lap at 123.741mph placed him just outside the top twenty but he continually improved his position during the race and a final lap of 124.884mph on the CMS BMW enabled him to take a strong 20th place and a bronze replica.
Earlier in the week, the weather meant that the opening Superbike race was put back 24 hours to Sunday but the lack of track time meant that Dan wasn’t comfortable with the set-up of the machine and although he lapped at 121.331mph on the opening lap he opted to retire and make changes to the bike for the aforementioned Superstock race.
Monday saw the first four-lap Supersport take place and, despite a few damp patches, a solid opening lap of 119.629mph saw Dan slot into 16th place. He improved his pace to 120.057mph second time around and although he slipped back slightly, a final lap of 120.410mph helped him take 19th place and yet another silver replica.
Dan said: “I knew the Lightweight race would give me my best result and although I really wanted to finish on the podium, I’m happy enough with fifth and my best ever TT finish. I’m not sure if we chose the wrong tyre or if the shock lost pressure but it wasn’t quite handling right and I was a bit frustrated with how the race went. However, I lapped quicker than I’ve gone before on the bike and fifth place in a TT race is a result to be proud of.”
“The lack of track time in practice meant the set-up with the BMW wasn’t right for the Superbike race but we made a lot of changes for the Superstock race and it was a lot better. It took me a while to get going but my pace at the end was good and it was another top twenty finish. It was a similar story in the first Supersport race but the bike didn’t quite run right and I dropped back quite a bit on the last laps. However, from three race finishes, I’ve had a fifth and two top twenty finishes with three replicas, two silver and one bronze, so it’s not been going too bad.”
Dan still has two more races this week with the second four-lap Supersport race taking place on Thursday and the Blue Riband Senior on Friday.
Photo courtesy of Mark ‘Wally’ Walters.