One of motorcycle racing’s most ubiquitous competitors, Richard Cooper heads to the 2023 North West 200 looking to add to a podium collection that already includes success in the F900 R BMW Cup and British Supersport Championship.
A race winner at Superbike, Supersport and Superstock level, Cooper this year leads the FHO Racing challenge in the new one-make F900 R BMW Cup - where he is already a two-time race winner - and has found time to squeeze in a special double podium-winning performance in BritishSSP on the BPE/Russel Racing Yamaha R6.
It is the machine he will now take to the North West 200, where he will bid to take on pre-event favourites Alastair Seeley (Milwaukee Ducati) and Davey Todd (Milenco by Padgetts Honda), at the Triangle.
Though he won’t contest the Superbike and Superstock races after a deal to ride a TAS BMW fell through, Cooper is content to be focusing his attention on the Supersport class.
“The North West 200 is an established part of my season now. I have been there twice, been successful both times and gained a lot of experience in all weather conditions.”
“Mervyn Whyte and I had been trying to sort a ride on a stocker BMW with the TAS Racing team but although people were keen to make it happen, it just hasn’t worked out.
“I am disappointed especially after the results I had on the big bikes last year but it is what it is and I will just have to try to achieve the best results I can on the bikes I do have.
“I definitely think I can challenge for the podium on the 600. I rode the R6 at Oulton Park to get myself dialled into the bike for the North West and it was amazing. We topped the speed trap at Oulton so I am looking forward to stretching its legs at the North West where top speed is very important.”
Cooper will also compete in the increasingly competitive Supertwins class, where he will ride a new Michael Rutter-prepared Bathams-liveried Yamaha R7.
“I just hope it is built and ready for the start of practice on Tuesday!” he smiled. “It is a completely unknown quantity at the minute. Michael Rutter has done a fantastic job in getting the bike sorted.
“He came to my rescue this year and I am ready for the challenge. But I won’t know if it is fast enough or of it will hold together in the races until I get to the North West and ride it. But that will make it even more rewarding if I can do well on it.”