International racing star hoping for a smooth ride as he opens new pub

Photo Neil Cross
Racer Darren Cooper is opening his own pub, Th'Owd Smithy Inn, Much Hoole, alongside his racing career

Photo Neil Cross Racer Darren Cooper is opening his own pub, Th'Owd Smithy Inn, Much Hoole, alongside his racing career

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Darren Cooper is racing to the bar ...and it’s with his wife’s full support.

The international motorbike road racer and joiner is adding another string to his bow as he gets the green light to open his new pub.

Photo Neil Cross
Racer Darren Cooper is opening his own pub, Th'Owd Smithy Inn, Much Hoole, alongside his racing career

Photo Neil Cross Racer Darren Cooper is opening his own pub, Th'Owd Smithy Inn, Much Hoole, alongside his racing career

The 36-year-old has been working full throttle to refurbish The Smithy Inn in Much Hoole, near Preston, and with everything on track he hopes to it will be a roaring success.

He said: “I’ve been racing at an international levels for quite a few years now and I also have a building business which is my nine to five which sees me do a lot of joinery,

“But then my friend Dave Holt asked me to go 50/50 on this pub. He has a lot of knowledge of pubs and it wasn’t a massive investment so I was convinced!

”I think we’re both quite well known around the village - for the right reasons! And so hopefully it’ll be a success.”

Photo Neil Cross
Racer Darren Cooper is opening his own pub, Th'Owd Smithy Inn, Much Hoole, alongside his racing career

Photo Neil Cross Racer Darren Cooper is opening his own pub, Th'Owd Smithy Inn, Much Hoole, alongside his racing career

Dave Holt owns the Holt Pub Company which manages the Ye Old Hob Inn in Bamber Bridge and Dunkirk Hall in Leyland.

As well as eyeing up top spot at the Manx Grand Prix in September, the Much Hoole rider is hoping to keep one eye on the pub and hopes he can attract bikers there in the future.

He added: “We just wanted it to look modern, clean and we’ll hopefully be serving food by March, We’ll be specialising in cask ales and we’ve hired a manager who will look after the place for us.

“It’d be good to have a day in the week where there’s a deal for bikers so they can come in as kind of a pit stop.”

Photo Neil Cross
Racer Darren Cooper is opening his own pub, Th'Owd Smithy Inn, Much Hoole, alongside his racing career

Photo Neil Cross Racer Darren Cooper is opening his own pub, Th'Owd Smithy Inn, Much Hoole, alongside his racing career

And Darren says he couldn’t have done it without the support of his wife Katie.

“I’ve certainly got a lot going on with my racing, my building business and now this,” he said. “But I couldn’t ask for Katie to be any better. She watches me race all over the place and has given me her full support behind buying the pub.

“Hopefully I won’t have to be too involved with the pub and I can be on the right side of the bar most of the time.

“ There won’t be much biker-related stuff going on the bar so we don’t isolate ourselves from anyone and I’m really looking forward to see how it goes.”

Photo Neil Cross
Racer Darren Cooper is opening his own pub, Th'Owd Smithy Inn, Much Hoole, alongside his racing career

Photo Neil Cross Racer Darren Cooper is opening his own pub, Th'Owd Smithy Inn, Much Hoole, alongside his racing career

After much refurbishment, the building work has crossed the finish line with The Smithy Inn open for business from 6pm Friday, February 3.

Photo Neil Cross
Racer Darren Cooper is opening his own pub, Th'Owd Smithy Inn, Much Hoole, alongside his racing career

Photo Neil Cross Racer Darren Cooper is opening his own pub, Th'Owd Smithy Inn, Much Hoole, alongside his racing career