Oh these Race seasons pass by so quickly! There goes Race season 2013 ..............
But........... WOW what a season it was!
It started with conditions more like Siberia down at Brands Hatch, which was sensibly cancelled! Moved onto more favored conditions, as the season progressed. And by the time we arrived at Pembrey, umbrellas were used, to keep the sun off, not the rain for once! Then to the final meeting at Snetterton, which was described by the weather people, as 'a weekend of fluffy cloud, covering the country.'
Just like a duvet keeping the warmth in! And it seemed to work well!
We entered 6 Championships this year. And won them all. With 'Mike Cooper' and 'Harley Rushton' on board the bikes at short circuits.
The Craven Concrete Summerfield 500cc Norton Manx. The Craven Concrete 350cc TZ Eliminator and the Craven Concrete 350cc Honda twin.
And 'Jamie Coward' riding the Craven Concrete Summerfield Norton Manx, on the road circuits in the Isle of Man. Taking a magnificent 3rd Place at the now called Classic TT.
Congratulations , to our *YOUNG GUN* Harley Rushton! Aged only 18 at the time he took the title! He is the YOUNGEST EVER WINNER of the 350cc Honda twins championship!
Harley started and finished the season, with a determination and focus that was a credit to him! Giving good feed back for any adjustments that had to be performed on set up, gearing suspension etc and is a pleasure to work with! After the cancelling of Brands, the riders were ready to jump into the saddles, and the bikes were chomping at the bit, so to speak, when the flag dropped at Darley!
Harley set out how he meant to go on. Taking 4 straight wins, and 'Rider of the Meeting'! He continued in this vain all season, being pushed hard by Gary Freeman, and many others! Taking the 350 Honda twins title by the time Donnington was over!
And so to Snetterton for the race of the year event, 2 races went towards the final championship standings, Harley won both!
The Honda twins were mixed with the 350cc singles, and in the second race Harley was digging deep to stay with Dan Cooper on the molner manx. The last lap flag came out with Harley in the draft of Dan's bike, as they entered the home straight towards the chequered flag, Harley was still on his back wheel, Dan Cooper, took his hand off the throttle to acknowledge the win 'TO EARLY!' Harley kept his head down pulled out and WON BY 400ths of a second! Also breaking Lee Hodge's LAP RECORD from the previous year to boot! The cheers, laughter and applause from the watching crowd in appreciation was nice to see!
Harley was showing his will to win, and growing race craft, that he has been building on all season, as we watched him pull some lovely moves on his opposition, over the year!
He went on to take Race of the Year the following day, and we beamed with pride as Harley stood on the top step with a big grin, to have the laurels placed around his shoulders!
He would like to go modern bike racing. So if any Team with a spare bike and budget, are wanting a future Champion in waiting! Then please get in touch via this web site, or email him. Thank you!
Congratulations Mike Cooper!
500cc ACU UK Classic Champion. On the Craven Concrete. Summerfield Norton Manx.
350cc ACU UK Post Classic Champion. On the Craven Concrete. TZ Eliminator.
Classic 500cc Grand Prix Champion. On the Craven Concrete. Summerfield Norton Manx.
Post classic 350cc Grand Prix Champion. On the Craven Concrete. TZ Eliminator.
King of the Classics. Championship Winner. A Round at each meeting, for Unlimited Machines. On the Craven Concrete 350cc TZ Eliminator.
Mike started the re-scheduled first meeting of the year with a Clean Sweep at Darley. With 4 wins on the 350cc TZ Eliminator, and 4 wins on the 500cc Craven Concrete. Summerfield Norton Manx.
Anglesey. 4 wins on the 500cc Norton Manx, 4 wins on the 350 TZ Eliminator. And won the 1st Round of the 350cc ACU Championship.
Then it was the the the first round of the 'King of the Classics'. A championship for unlimited machinery , this should have been held at Brands Hatch. (King of Brands) but was moved to Anglesey!
Richard Blunt on his 150 BHP. All singing dancing Kawasaki, looked impossible to beat, as Richard had at least 20 mph advantage on the straight against Mike on the 350cc TZ Eliminator, with 75 BHP. By Lap 3 Mike was still on Richards back wheel and on lap 4 out braked the big Kawasaki at the end of the straight, pulling out enough advantage on the twisty parts of the circuit to stay in front to the end of a very exciting ten lap race!
During this Race Mike broke the TZ lap record held by Lee Gourlay by 1.5 seconds, and the out right lap record set by Ollie Linsdale, on a Paton! By 1.2 seconds.
So the season moved rapidly on. A clean sweep at Cadwell with the TZ Eliminator took Mike to 300 points.
The 500cc Grand prix championship, was getting a little closer, due to Lee Hodge on the beautifully prepared Minnovation, G50, Taking 2 wins and 2 second places, and Andy Taylor taking a win.
Racing always throws in the unexpected, and for us and Mike it was a badly broken Norton manx frame in practice at Pembrey, fatigue took over, splitting the frame open in 3 places! So had to sit out 3 of the 4 club races, we repaired it the best we could with the great help of competitors in the paddock, welding equipment and steel plate (Thank you ) So we could run it in the ACU Race.
It was a close run Race with Lee Hodge taking the chequered flag in front of Mike! This made points level as Mike Had taken the ACU win at Cadwell. So was all up for grabs, and had to be decided at Snetterton! By the time Pembrey was over, Mike had Won the Post classic 350cc Grand Prix Championship! On the Craven Concrete 350cc TZ Eliminator! Unbeaten in the 15 races he started in!
The Charlie Sanby trophy. " King of Classics round " was held at Pembrey, Mike on the 350 TZ Eliminator took the Win!
Donington park, with a new frame under him Mike took 4, 500cc wins putting him back into the lead of the club championship for the final round at Snetterton!
Second place in the 350 cc ACU race with a broken exhaust, on lap 2, kept Mike in line for back to back 350cc ACU championships if all went well at Snetterton in the final round!
And so Race of the year at Snetterton!
Well Mike needed, Two, 500cc wins in the club Grand prix championship. One win in the 500cc ACU Championship. One win in the 350cc ACU Championship. And to stay in front of Richard Blunt to win the "King of the Classics championship"!
Lee Hodge, was virtually in the same boat in 2 of the races. Only a few points down in the 500cc club championship and level on points in the 500cc ACU championship!
The start flag dropped, the races were run, the chequered flag fell. And out in front Mike Cooper on the 500cc Craven Concrete Summerfield Norton Manx. Took both the 500cc Club Championship, and the 500cc ACU Championship, unfortunately in the 500cc ACU race a Drive belt failed on Lee Hodges Machine, bringing his challenge to a end for this year! It would have been good to have seen Lee up on the Podium as Runner up in the overall championship! C'est la vie.
Mike also won the final round of the 350cc ACU championship. On the Craven Concrete 350cc TZ Eliminator.
Making him Back to back 500cc and 350cc ACU Champion!
And so to the final race and the final championship 'King of Classics' Race of aces. Which with a 350 TZ, we did not think we could possibly win against the ballistic missile machines of Richard Blunt and Richard Steadman!
Unfortunately Richard Blunt had ignition problems and could not start! And as he was the only one we had to be in front of when the race finished, Mike had to bring home the 350cc Craven Concrete TZ Eliminator to take the winning points.
Well as we thought before the race, the win would be out of grasp, which it was! But a fine second place for Mike, once more collared the silver wear! Job done I guess we could say. 6 out of 6!
The view most riders got at all circuits of Mike Cooper!
Earlier in the Year we had popped up to the Bob McIntyre memorial meeting at East Fortune. With the Honda, Norton and TZ , always a great weekend and so well run by the SRMC! The weather played its part, and the meeting had to be cancelled on the Sunday afternoon due to that wet stuff! But Jamie Coward, Riding the Norton, and Harley Rushton on the Honda and TZ for the first time, came away smiling and had a box full of Trophies each.
Congratulations Jamie Coward
The week after Donington, Ted went off to the Isle of Man. With Jamie Coward, Riding the Craven Concrete 500cc Summerfield Norton Manx. At the newly named Classic TT. Practice week threw up a few minor problems, as that place always does for most of the competitors, some, more drastic than others! But come Race day all was looking good, For Ted, Jamie and the Norton Manx. Mike, Leanne, their daughter Grace and myself were at Cadwell with the TZ Eliminator competing in the ICGP event at the British Super bike meeting. When the phone started to ring, late Saturday afternoon. It was Ted, who is not one to show emotions at the best of times! But this time was an exception to his rule, as he joyfully told us Jamie had finished 3rd! Against such strong talented opposition. This was a phenomenal result. Being the 1st Single cylinder machine home was more like a Win! What more can be said? Except, Congratulations Summerfield Engineering for producing the best Norton Manx engine on the market bar none! Congratulations to Ted for building and preparing a Bike and Engine that withstood everything the circuit can throw at a machine! And finally, Congratulations To Jamie Coward wow what a ride!
Ollie Linsdale Number 1. William Dunlop Number 11. and Jamie Coward Number 15.
I have been asked a lot of times this year, if we run a Thermostat in the TZ in this country? And the answer is "OF COURSE WE DO!" Yamaha did not spend millions of pounds, developing, a precise piece of engineering equipment, running with fine tolerances, that are AT their best, at certain temperatures. Specified by Yamaha! And kept under control by a £35 pound thermostat, (which also is a precision instrument) For Joe Public. To look at it and say. "Wow that looks flimsy, eek we should take that out and throw it away" lets nip down to the local plumber and buy some Gaffer Tape! We can control the temperature by sticking that on the radiator?!?!? Then scratch their heads when the Engine COLD SEIZES! If you don't know how a Thermostat works! Pour boiling water into a Pyrex glass jug or alike, and lower the Thermostat in, on a piece of wire! Be patient, it does not open like a carb slide when one twists the grip, but serenely! Just the same, as when, in its housing on the engine. To allow coolant to flow slowly from the Radiator!
ICGP Cadwell. Grace, Mike's daughter, got frustrated of trying to get a 10mm spanner down the TZ Exhaust. Then she spotted something big and yellow, so wandered off with the 10 mm wrench to see if it would fit down the helicopters exhaust! Luckily the air ambulance crew decided to find an alternative job for her, and strapped her into a seat, where she sat quite happily for a while!
Mike meanwhile out on the circuit, took a 2nd and 3rd, so 2 bottles of bubbly and 2 visits to the podium in front of a hugely appreciative, knowledgeable Cadwell Superbike crowd!
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Good luck with your racing in 2014! See you on the starting grid! - Jon Sunter.