Darren Cooper is aiming for a successful season on motorcycling’s road racing circuit to build on the impressive 2015 he had.
The 35-year-old rider from Much Hoole, near Preston, was in the top 20 finishers in international road races last year, his crowning moment being a podium finish at the Manx Grand Prix.
That is held on the famous TT course and was the first time he had ridden that circuit.
Cooper’s ambition this year is to break into the top 15 finishers, with his preparations starting next month.
“I’m going to Spain in February for some pre-season testing,” said Cooper.
“In March I’m getting married, so my season will start in April.
“This year I want to try to push into the top 15 finishers.
“That is a big challenge because I’ll be coming up against factory-helped teams with big sponsorships.
“I do my own work and preparation, there are a couple of lads who help me, while my girlfriend does the hospitality side of things.”
Cooper, who has a joinery business, has long been interested in motorbike racing. He said: “I’ve probably been racing since I was 20, I had a bit of time off it but it’s always been a big interest of mine.
“I also ride trials bikes and mountain bikes – it’s all about two wheels for me.
“My big moment of last season was taking part in the Manx Grand Prix on the Isle of Man and finishing third.
“The Grand Prix is raced on the same circuit as the TT.
“They recommend you do the Grand Prix first before attempting the TT and that was a great experience.
“I’m hoping to ride in the TT this year, my entry has gone in and it’s an exciting prospect.”
The road racing circuit means a fair amount of travelling.
Venues include England’s only road circuit at Oliver’s Mount on the North Yorkshire coast, the Isle of Man (Manx GP), Northern Ireland’s Ulster GP – which is the world’s fastest road race – and Northwest 200.
Cooper’s results have been very impressive, particularly given the level of competition he is racing against.
With a top-10 finish at Oliver’s Mount, which included a win at the Cock ’o the North meeting in July, followed up by a top-10 spot at the Gold Cup in September, he was in the top 20 at the Ulster GP in a world-class field.
However the crowning moment was Cooper’s debut as a newcomer on the world famous TT course for the Manx GP last August.
An amazing third place in the newcomers’ ‘A’ race, and titles of fastest newcomer and best-placed in the junior race, established him as an international racer.
Cooper is on the look-out for sponsorship and help this season.
Anyone wishing to offer assistance or track his progress can get in touch via facebook or social media and follow Team DCR Kawasaki Racing.