Congratulations Mike Cooper!
The Double ACU 500cc and 350cc Champion for the 3rd year in succession.
Also back to back Classic 500cc Grand Prix.
And Post classic 250cc / 350cc Grand Prix Champion.
Riding the Craven Concrete Summerfield 500cc Norton Manx.
And the Craven Concrete 350cc TZ Eliminator
Mike, Leanne and Daughter Grace welcomed a new addition to the Family in Early 2014.
'Henry Cooper' was born, now with a name like that, we wondered which sport the young chap would follow as he grew older?
Mike soon settled that when we went to Donnington
as Henry was soon sitting on the Yamaha having his photo taken! And not a Pair of Boxing gloves in sight!
So Congratulations on the birth of Henry to Mike, Leanne and big sister Grace.
What a difference a year makes! The 2013 Pembrey meeting was a scorcher with brollies up to keep off the searing heat! 2014 it was back to what we all expect, brollies to keep the rain off and a set of warm clothes. It got so bad rain wise, that by Sunday aft and a trail of oil around the circuit, from a unknown bike, that the last few races were cancelled.
But a good start was made, Mike cleaning up on the TZ Eliminator, 4 club races and the 350cc ACU race!
And 2 club wins and a 3rd in the 500cc ACU race with a sticking throttle!
We decided to miss Lydden Hill, as a 18 hour + round trip for us, and a huge amount of diesel in the Race truck. Also what we call a Mickey Mouse track to run on, when we got there, it may have been a mistake, as valuable points could have gone towards the final tally! For Mike in the King of Classics, and Harley in the 350cc Twins Club races! Hmm we will have to see how 2015 goes. About whether the World is round! And not as we think from up North that it is still Square, bite the bullet and make the trip, and see if we fall off the edge!
Anglesey, Mike claimed a fair haul of points back, but was still on the back foot, so to speak from missing Lydden! And Ted turned 65 years young, Retirement age! Well don't smile yet, as Ted like all of us, are back next year! Leanne made Ted a fantastic birthday cake helped by daughter Grace and quite a few friends and people who knew came and sang happy birthday.
Brands Hatch came round quickly, and Mike was on fantastic form.
Despite some fierce competition from Lee Hodge, in the 500cc races. And from George Hogton Rusling, Lee Hodge and Ant Hart in some fantastic 250 / 350cc TZ Races. A brilliant 350cc ACU race looked on the cards, With George H Rusling winning at Anglesey and Mike 2nd it was level pegging points wise as the Flag dropped to start the race, Mike took a early lead from the start with George H. R. Stuck to his back wheel, then Mike turned up the heat, and with some searing laps pulled steadily away, to cruise to a Great win by half the length of the start finish straight. The King of classic's race also turned into a great spectacle, it was fast and furious right from the start, Mike and George H.R. vying for the lead and of course Gary Thwaites on the big triple, right in the mix, also the fast gaining Lee Hodge from a lowly grid position, but due to changing the gearing for the race he made great inroads into the leading group, The two 350 TZ 's had warmed up though and by lap 3 and were pulling away from Gary, who was being reeled in by Lee Hodge, the pace at the front was on lap record pace lap after lap, until finally up at Druids on the penultimate lap George lost the front trying his utmost to stay with Mike on the TZ Eliminator, so Mike still on lap record pace cruised to Victory. Behind him Lee Hodge and Gary Thwaites were locked in battle on the final lap, which was now for 2nd place with the demise of George H.R. Lee had a wheel in front over the line at the start of the lap, and as they crossed the line with the chequered flag out, the result could not be determined by eye, but it was Gary Thwaites by thousands of a second! So we left Brands with Laurels, Bubbly silverware, and a little smile on our faces! As a clean sweep for Mike ten races ten wins!
Donington Park. Well we all get a bad meeting in the year when things go from a high point, as Brands Hatch was, to a little lower point as Donington turned out to be! The weather turned a little nasty, with the Earths nature playing it's part. Was it the tail end of a tornado or hurricane that hit us all. Hmm it certainly was not summer! And when it rains a few drops or thunder rain at Donington, the circuit becomes a Skating ring, due to aircraft fuel being dropped, by in and outgoing aircraft , although they deny that it's anything to do with them. We all seem to know differently, right or wrong it was darned slippy! The Yamaha decide to drop a gearbox tooth, which lodged itself just so it could shred all the teeth off the Nylon water pump gear, pressurising the gear box oil, and overheating the engine, thus pumping most of it's oil and water into the catch bottle which overflowed and threw it all over the back wheel, on the last lap of the 350 cc ACU race. Which resulted in a huge high side for Mike and no points, Luckily Mike was unhurt, although the Yamaha was Badly damaged, fortunately the frames are made here at Sunter Honda, so it was stripped down on the Saturday evening at the circuit, and on Monday morning the frame was back in the Jig and having some repairs made. Mike pulled out all the stops in the 500cc ACU race and claimed victory, and as the Yamaha was not usable had to ride the Norton in the King of classics race coming home 6th. We were glad to be leaving Donington, as even the race truck had decided to play up and poured water out of a fractured steel radiator pipe, fixed by Harley's Dad, Paul who just happens to be in that trade, Cheers Paul. 4 days Later Ted and I were off to the Classic TT, and had a lot of preparation to do before we left to get on the ferry.
Cadwell park. With the Yamaha rebuilt and going well again, Mike cleaned up in the 250 / 350cc club races 4 wins, and in the 500cc club races 4 wins Victory in the 500cc ACU Race after Gary Thwaites had a huge off with a stuck wide open throttle. Meant that he could not be caught, so was Back to back 500cc ACU Champion for the 3rd year on the bounce ! And also 500cc club Champion on the Craven Concrete Summerfield Norton Manx, with a round at Snetterton still to go! The big Race of the day was the Colin Breeze , King of classics race, Mike needed a win to take it to Snetterton and the Final round, opposition was tough though with George H.R, Gary Thwaites ( thankfully unhurt in his big off ) and Ant Hart all in the mix, But as the flag dropped on the final lap, it was Mike with the victory, on the Craven concrete TZ Eliminator. So the smiles came back on our faces as we packed up, 10 out of 10 race wins again for Mike!
Snetterton, the final round. And Race of the year event. We went to Snetterton with 3 championships undecided. The 250 / 350cc Grand prix, the 250 / 350cc ACU championship and the King of classics championship. The 250 /350cc Grand prix championship, was wrapped up in the first race Mike took the win in a very exciting race battling with Phil Atkinson. The 250 / 350CC ACU race was a nail bitter for more reasons than one, Mike had 15 points more than George H.R. so had to finish the race to take the championship or George had take less than 15 points if Mike did not finish . Lap one and Mike and Phil Atkinson went across the line side by side, nothing between the 2 Bikes, Lap 2 as they came into view around Coram Mike was 2 Bike lengths in front, tipped into Murray's, and lost the front, the nail biting began, as George, now had a good chance of taking the championship. But could not get better than 5th so only 10 points, so Mike became ACU UK Post classic champion for the 3rd year on the trot! So the Final championship race. The King of classics, we had cobbled the Yamaha back to a fit enough state to pass scrutineering , less screen and half the body work, Mike had pole along side Phil Atkinson on 2 , and needed to win or take second with Gary Thwaites 4th or lower, it turned into a cracking race up front with Mike and Phil Atkinson swopping the lead many times each lap, on the last lap as the flag fell to finish the race, Phil atkinson took the victory by 25 thousands of a second. And Gary Thwaites finished 3rd behind Mike, so we lost that championship by 1 Point. C'est la vie! It nearly shows how much the fairing screen etc does to these bikes, as except for buffeting down the straight, Mike said it felt similar to having the screen etc on the bike, so the funny changes to Fairing rules next year 2015 on these bikes will not make any change except people having to spend MORE money on new fairings! Mike easily won the 500cc Race of the Year, on the Craven Concrete Summerfield Manx, and took a close 2nd to the flying Phil Atkinson, in the 350cc Race of the Year on the Craven concrete 350cc TZ Eliminator. It will be great for the class and for the club if Phil manages to do a full season in 2015 as we will all have to up the ante!
Congratulations Harley Rushton!
3rd in the 350cc Honda Twins Championship this year on the Craven Concrete Honda K4, beaten by Simon Walsh the Champion, and Gary Freeman coming home 2nd. Also Congratulations to Harley in his first year in the Classic 500cc Grand prix class, Finishing 5th overall on the 2nd Craven concrete Summerfield Manx Norton, no mean feat considering the talent in that Class. Harley had some up and down moments this year on the Honda after a superb championship win in 2013. When he was the youngest winner of the Honda 350cc Championship ever. Missing out at Lydden as we stayed home, he lagged behind all season, but was only 41 points behind Simon at the end of the year! It was great to see Harley take the race of the year at Snetterton, untouchable right through the race when he led from start to finish!
Congratulations Ray Howarth
Runner up in the Classic 350cc seniors , Won by Tony Tuttle well done Tony, These over 55 year old Gents, certainly show the younger guys the way round most of the time and don't hold back. Ray on his Immaculate polished Sunter honda gives his best each time he goes out to race, just like all the others and it is good to see the competitive spirit flowing through the veins in all the Senior riders which are mixed in with the young guns. Well done to all!
Congratulations Mark Griffiths
Mark won the Tonfanue 350 / 500cc Championship Riding the Terry Woods owned Honda K4. Tuned and built by Sunter Honda.
Congratulations Paul Reed
Paul is Scottish and North east 350cc Honda K4 Champion riding a Sunter Honda tuned Engine, plus race equipment. Which is looked after by Paul's Dad John or Sooty as he is known. Neither of them look happy in the photo, Hey but they are delighted i can assure you , with the stiff opposition they have come across this season. So well done and smile for the camera next time you guys.
Congratulations Connor Behan
Connor replaced Jamie Coward who was still recovering from a Leg injury sustained at Tandragee 100 in May. So was riding the Craven Concrete 500cc Summerfield Manx and the Craven Concrete 350cc Honda K4. At relatively short notice. Practice week went well and Connor put in some stunning laps considering it was his first time on the bikes except for a few Laps of Mallory on a track day the previous month. The 500cc Race he started number 15, and came through to finish 4th overall. Or Second in class behind Bruce Anstey. Both on a single cylinder 500cc Summerfield Norton Manx which are known as the real Classic bikes. We were delighted as he crossed the finishing line, after 4 hard laps. But we were disappointed for Connor, that the Classic TT did not have rostrum ceremony for the real classic machines. 3 Laurels and 3 bottles of bubbly, would not have broken the bank, and given the real machines some recognition . Which would have been appreciated by riders and spectators alike. We were stunned by the roar of approval that went up around the circuit when John McGuinness broke down, showing how knowledgeable the crowd attending were, about the bikes being ridden . So we looked forward to the 350cc Junior race on the Monday. Connor had set the 3rd fastest practice lap on a damp track on the friday, 99.892. And was looking forward to the race. Unfortunately the weather on the Monday was awful wind rain and cloud, so the race went over to tuesday and got shortened to 3 laps. We needed to change the jetting tuesday morn, to suit the weather of the day, and did not have the mikuni jets we required, so bought 2 from a vendor on site. Off at number 7 Connor made a a good get away, but as soon the bike hit 8 thousand rpm it went onto 1 cylinder. Well that was it, he made a effort to see if it would clear but had to retire at Ramsey, then drank 7 pints, before the van got to him to pick him up . Turned out the jets we bought, one was correct, but the other flowed 60 times more than it should have done, and was stamped up with the wrong size on it, so washing out the spark on main jet!
We did make the trip up to the Bob Mcintyre memorial meeting at East Fortune, always worth the trip. Great people, well organized, and great racing on a circuit full of everything for the rider to enjoy . The commentary in the unlimited races was brilliant, Mike on the TZ George H.R on the Big triple, the commentators kept saying they had never heard or seen a " 350cc manx " go so quickly or sound quite as nice as the one Mike was on! It was only in the 4th race, they decided it sounded like a TZ, Scottish wording followed which was drowned out by laughter around the circuit, hey ho! Mike and Harley came home with a overload of Trophies, and Mike got fastest Lap by a Scottish club member. I asked Mike which Scottish club he was a Member of? Answer, None of them!?!?
So onto the biggest most important questions and answers of 2014...
Grace asks. Ted what you doing ???
Ted replies. Walking with you back to the race truck! Grace. Oh!
Pauses then asks. Ted what you doing ???
Ted replies. Holding you're hand so you don't get lost! Grace: Oh!
Pauses then asks. Ted what time is it ???
Ted replies !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 10 past five !!!!!!! Grace: Oh !!!!!
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Good luck with your racing in 2015! See you on the starting grid! - Jon Sunter.