Sunflower Trophy winner Richard Cooper confirms Bishopscourt return to defend his title

Richard Cooper (Buildbase Suzuki) leads Danny Buchan (FS-3 Kawasaki) and Michael Laverty (Tyco BMW) in the Sunflower Trophy race at Bishopscourt in 2018.
Richard Cooper (Buildbase Suzuki) leads Danny Buchan (FS-3 Kawasaki) and Michael Laverty (Tyco BMW) in the Sunflower Trophy race at Bishopscourt in 2018.
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Reigning Sunflower Trophy champion Richard Cooper will return to Ireland’s premier short circuit meeting this month to defend his title.

Cooper, who has dominated the British Superstock 1000 Championship this year on the Buildbase Suzuki, took the event by storm at Bishopscourt in Co. Down in 2018, completing a clean sweep in the Superbike class as he made a stunning debut at the prestigious end-of-season finale.

The 37-year-old claimed the spoils in the feature Sunflower race after a thrilling battle at the front with British Superbike rider Danny Buchan, with Cooper getting the verdict on the line by only 0.015 seconds in a photo finish.

He also notched a double in the Superbike races on the GSX-R1000 to complete a sensational hat-trick, twice edging out Buchan by only two-tenths-of-a-second.

Cooper previously told the News Letter: “The Sunflower was a great event for myself and because I’ve been racing going on for 20 years, there aren’t many tracks that are new to me.

“I’ve ridden most of them and to experience a new track like Bishopscourt was something I really enjoyed and I adapted to it quite quickly.

“I managed to win all three Superbike races and it was a great experience and the people were so friendly.”

Cooper has been in excellent form this year and excelled on his road racing debut at the 90th anniversary North West 200 back in May, where he finished on the rostrum in second place in the Saturday Superstock race behind roads specialist James Hillier.

He secured the British Superstock 1000 title for Stuart and Steve Hicken’s team with two rounds of the championship remaining.

Cooper is among the first entries confirmed for the famous short circuit race, with more details of top riders due to confirmed over the next few weeks.

This year is the 42nd running of the Sunflower Trophy races, which will once again be sponsored by Jim Finlay.

Practice will take place on Friday, October 25 with the main race programme on Saturday, October 26.

This year, the event will be a non-championship meeting.

St. Angelo in Enniskillen hosted the final Ulster Superbike round last weekend in Co. Fermanagh.