Sunflower Trophy newcomer Richard Cooper made the perfect start as he won the opening Superbike race and claimed pole position on the Buildbase Suzuki at Bishopscourt.
The Nottingham-based rider, fresh from victory in the final British Superbike race of the season at Brands Hatch last weekend, powered the GSX-R1000 to victory at the Co. Down on Friday track by 0.2 seconds from two-time winner Danny Buchan (MSS Kawasaki).
Buchan had opened a gap at the front in the race, but Cooper hunted him down after passing Tyco BMW’s Michael Laverty to move into second place. He then took the lead in the closing stages to seal an impressive win.
Laverty completed the rostrum places in third ahead of event newcomer Dean Harrison on the Silicone Engineering Racing Kawasaki, while Ulster Superbike champion Gerard Kinghan took a fine fifth on his Superstock-spec Kawasaki.
The race was delayed following an oil spill on the track, which occurred during the Sidecar qualifying session.