The Buildbase Suzuki team returns to the International North West 200 this week, with Richard Cooper set to make his road racing debut at the high profile event that runs over the course of a week at its picturesque north coast location in Northern Ireland.
Cooper – who currently leads the National Superstock 1000 championship for Buildbase Suzuki – will campaign superbike and superstock-spec Suzuki GSX-R1000R machinery around ‘The Triangle’ circuit. And the Nottinghamshire ace is no stranger to either, having won the final British Superbike race of 2018 with Buildbase Suzuki and winning at the opening two rounds of this year’s superstock championship.
Despite boasting a wealth of racing experience, this year’s North West 200 is Cooper’s first foray into the world of road racing, and while he has his own expectations and goals, he’s approaching it with a level head.
Richard Cooper, “Now we’re here the excitement and anticipation has gone up a notch, but it hasn’t changed our approach. I have come here with some aims in my mind – I think any rider goes to a new event or to compete somewhere new with a bit of an idea of what they can do, what they can achieve, and where they want to be – but the main one is to learn and improve as the week goes on. I know I’ve got a good team around me and a team that is vastly experienced on the roads, and if I work hard and come away with strong performances I’ll be happy.
“As far as road race debuts go, there aren’t many bigger events to do it than the North West 200. I’d been looking to take this step for a couple of years to be honest and I was only going to do it when everything came together. But the plan was always to come here; it’s a great event, great fans, a really strong field. I’m excited to get going, but we’ll be taking it step-by-step.”
Cooper will get his first taste of the North West 200 circuit when practice gets underway tomorrow [Tuesday 14 May], before the opening Superstock race on Thursday evening [16 May]. He will then contest three races on Saturday [18 May], with two superbike races and the second superstock race.