Cooper rides to victory as he sees off young gun Newbould
DAN Cooper claimed six victories at the Aberdare Park road races, but the Stroud rider was pushed all the way by young gun Joe Newbould.
Although both riders are in their mid-20s Cooper is now an established star on the road racing scene while Newbould, from Moreton-in-Marsh, is only in his third season of racing and still a comparative newcomer to racing between the trees.
The Aberdare Park circuit is unique on the racing calendar in that it takes place on the service road around the town park, complete with band stand and duck pond.
Although only 0.9 miles around, what it lacks in length it makes up for in difficulty and being surrounded by some very mature trees the circuit demands respect – appropriately it's known among the road racing fraternity as 'Aberscare'.
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Now fully recovered from the shoulder injury which affected his performances towards the end of TT week in the Isle of Man, the former 125cc British Champion was in action on the Centurion Racing Triumph 675.
On Saturday, Dan was out early in a 10-minute qualifier for the 600cc Park Challenge which was followed by a 10-minute session for the Welsh Open and he was quickest in both.
This was followed by a six lap race heat for both the Welsh Open and the Park Challenge and Cooper again was in control before winning the 600cc Park Challenge later in the day on a dry track.
The weather turned overnight and the track varied from dry to wet with periodic torrential downpours. Cooper had a further heat for the Welsh Open and was unbeaten as he secured pole position for the 15-lap Welsh Open race.
Meanwhile, the 26-year-old from Stroud took a second victory in the 600cc Park Challenge race before deciding which tyres to use for the all-important feature race.
Choosing a wet front and dry rear, a battle soon developed between Cooper and lap record holder John Simpson on another 675cc Triumph before the race was red-flagged on lap two.
The restart saw a similar battle with Simpson leading before Cooper took over on lap six and held on to win comfortably and complete a clean sweep of victories.
Pleased with his weekend's work, Cooper is now looking forward to a similarly dominant performance at the Ulster GP in September.
"I am delighted to have won all of my heats and races at Aberdare as this has been my first competitive visit to the Park," Cooper said. "It has been a brilliant weekend for me and the Centurion Racing Team.
"We did not know what to expect coming here but we have got the results in tricky conditions and this has been a great event for me."