Newcomer to Sunflower is Darren Cooper, better known for his prowess on the roads, Cooper was a short circuit rider for many years before retiring to concentrate on his business, Here Darren takes up the story;
“ I began racing back in 2000,continued until 2005, my first race was at Aintree on a steel framed 600 CBR Honda, and without much luck, having crashed out!!, Anyway, I enjoyed it, and continued, competing, where I raced at British Supercup level, in the UK Grand Slam, on board a GSXR 1000 Suzuki, I finished 6th overall, before going to supersport, with a best result of 14th. in the New ERA Superclub, where I led the championship until I had a massive crash at Pembrey, which more or less caused me to knock the racing for a while, as to concentrate on my building business.
When I’d finally got settled with my building business I bought a ZX6R road bike in 2013 to do Scarborough as a bit of a light hearted comeback and race a few road races that I’d always dreamed of doing as a youth , but it’s massively progressed from there and I kinda got hooked in a big way with some mega results at the Irish Nationals, short circuit and the International road races!
I’ve done some more British Supersport and raced at the 3 Internationals this year running just shy of the top 10 at the Ulster GP !”
Darren was out recently at the BSB round at Oulton Park on his 600 Kawasaki. He qualified well, and while he got a great start in race one, a problem with the regulator saw him slip down the field, and he finished in 22nd . In the second race which was wet, he had tyre problems and suffered from a lack of grip, and had a few hairy moments. Despite this he ended up 21st in the race. Darren will race the NW Racing BMW 1000, as well as his 600 and 650 Kawasaki’s over the two day season finale meeting.
The quiet unassuming Cooper also won the Supertwin race at the Manx Grand prix last year, and this year joined forces with former Portglenone Businessman, Noel Williamson.
So what brings this builder to the Sunflower?
“ To be honest, Ive had an inkling to take in some Irish Short Circuit racing, but the time never seemed right, and now seems to be the time!
I love Northern Ireland and love the people they are very welcoming. I like doing the odd short circuits especially high profile race meetings and I’ve always wanted to do a short circuit race in NI so Yes, the Sunflower Trophy race meeting fits the bill perfectly.
And to My Sponsors/Helpers, Can’t say thank you enough to the Cooper Clan…. Katie, Suzanne, Gary and a Very Special thanks to Noel Williamson of NW Racing for the opportunity this year on his BMW S1000RR and his crew chief Stanley Gamble… I’ve made a really good friend here, he’s been so helpful with me this year. My main sponsors JMC have been ultra supportive. Along with LifeLockedIn, MJ Davidson Groundworks, Trix Design, Fluestox, JD Roofing, A59 Carpets, AC Vent, P&SL Haulage, BrakeQuip, Midtherm Hoole Service Centre, Maxton, John & Dave Mattinson “
Thanks to his time off from racing, Darren, along with a friend of his, have worked hard and now are the owners of 4 traditional pubs, They are currently doing a massive transformation to a run down City Centre Bar in Preston which they purchased last year. It’s going to be called Baker Street and is to be open in the New Year!, Im sure, you are all with me in wishing them both the very best for the future!
And what about the Big Man himself, Noel Williamson, what had he to say about this event “We are delighted with the season that we have had, and it will be great to get out with the big boys for a season finale. It will be good for the team and for our rider Darren Cooper, and while this will be a new circuit to him, he has a great approach when learning new circuits. The Sunflower is always a great meeting, and a well supported one as well. I would like to thank everyone who have supported the team this season, and hopefully we will have a good weekend” Darren Cooper; “I am looking forward to rounding off the season, where I will be riding the three bikes which will keep me and the team busy. I appreciate the organisers for making the event happen, and hopefully it will be a fitting finale to the season. I have had a fantastic year and I can’t thank Noel and Stanley for all the work that they have put in for me” “Hopefully the weather will be good to us and the fans will turn up to make the meeting a memorable one. I would also like to thank all the Irish fans for making me so welcome at the various events during the year, and I look forward to returning next season”.
Paddock will be open from 2.00pm!
Information for Competitors & Spectators;
The Sunflower Trophy race meeting which takes place on Friday 19th and Saturday 20th October,also incorporates the final round of the 2018 USBK Championships.This is a Two Day event,
Thursday 18th October ; Competitors will be admitted to the Paddock from 2.00pm,
Thursday 19th October; Spectators /Motorhomes etc admitted to Circuit after 6.00pm.
Practice and Qualifying will commence Friday 19th October @ approx 9.15 AM.
Five Races will take place on Friday afternoon.
Car Parking and Viewing on Hard Standing Everywhere.
Friday ONLY ; £15.00
Saturday ; £ 20.00
Race Schedule for Sunflower Trophy Races
The 41st Sunflower Trophy Race meeting takes place this Friday and Saturday. With continued sponsorship from Jim Finlay, this unique end of season short circuit has yet again attracted a top class entry. Timed Practice will start on Friday morning at 9.15 am
Race Timetable –
1. Pre Injection & Cup Non-Qualifiers 8 Laps
2. Superbike Pro Race 1 10 Laps
3. Superbike Cup / Supersport Cup & F1 8 Laps
4. Young Guns Challenge / Junior Cup 7 Laps
5. Moto 3 / 250GP 8 Laps
Race Timetable – Saturday
Stewards Meeting 8.00am to 8.30am
Riders Briefing 8.45am
Warm Up – 9.15 am 1. Superbike 2. Supersport
Saturday Race Programme
1. Lightweight Supersport 8 Laps
2. Young Guns Challenge / Junior Cup 7 Laps
3. Supertwins / Prod Twins 8 Laps
4. Moto 3 / 250cc GP 8 Laps
5. Supersport Pro 10 Laps
6. Superbike Cup / Supersport Cup & F1 8 Laps
7. Superbike Pro Race 2 10 Laps
8. Sidecars 8 Laps
9. The Sunflower Trophy Race 12 Laps
10. Pre Injection & Cup Non-Qualifiers 8 Laps
11. S/Twins / P/ Twins (Junior Sunflower Trophy Race)
8 Laps 12. Supersport Pro
10 Laps 13. Lightweight Supersport 8 Laps
14. Sidecars 8 Laps