British Supersport: Cooper on top at Brands Hatch finale (20 October- BRANDS HATCH, KENT)
The Oxford TAG Triumph team enjoyed a near perfect finale to the 2013 season as Richard Cooper was denied a double victory by the narrowest of margins at Brands Hatch today.
After dominating Saturday’s wet 10-lap sprint race with a lights-to-flag victory, the 30-year-old Nottingham rider was confident of repeating his performance in what looked like being a dry 18-lap feature.
From the lights, Cooper duly slotted into the leading group but the red flags were quickly brought out as a light rain shower halted proceedings. The race was restarted after a short delay, with all the riders opting for dry weather tyres. At the second attempt, Cooper circulated with title protagonists Stuart Easton and Alastair Seeley, who went into the race separated by just four points, with outgoing champion Glen Richards holding a watching brief in fourth.
Cooper, Seeley and Easton swapped position at every other corner, however the fans and riders were denied a grand stand finale when the rain came again on the 11th lap. Although the race was running under wet weather regulations, meaning that it would not be stopped in the case of inclement conditions, the slippery track caught out a rider further back and necessitated the race to be stopped in the interests of safety.
With over two thirds of the race distance completed, the result was declared as at the last completed lap, denying Cooper a shot at a double win and robbing the fans of a grandstand title finish between Easton and Seeley. The declared result saw Easton the winner of both the race and the title, with Cooper second, just over a tenth of a second behind, and Seeley completing the podium.
The Swadlincote-based Oxford TAG Triumph team’s other two riders also scored strong results today. Scott Smart was heavily handicapped by a 29th place starting position after a technical problem meant that he was unable to complete a lap in Saturday’s grid-deciding sprint race. Despite this the former Grand Prix rider rode brilliantly to take a 10th place finish in one of the most remarkable performances of the day. Also in the points was Shaun Winfield, who scored a point for 15th after starting from 28th.
In the final championship standings, Cooper’s 45 point Brands Hatch haul saw him break the 200 point barrier to end the year in seventh place, the top Oxford TAG Triumph rider. Smart retained 12th in the standings, with junior team members Sam Hornsey, missing through a non-racing injury, scoring 26 points, with Winfield ending on a four point tally.
Rob Winfield, Team Principal, commented: “It’s been a tough season for us but it is great to end it on a high. We came into the season on the back foot as the new bikes only arrived in February but race-by-race we have made improvements and now we can say that we are back where we want to be and ready to go into next season as title contenders again.”
Click here to see our Brands Hatch photo gallery (photos © Sam Farrington)
2013 Motorpoint British Supersport Championship
Round 12 – Brands Hatch GP
Race one – 10 laps (Saturday 19 October)
1. Richard Cooper (Oxford TAG Triumph)
2. Alastair Seeley (Kawasaki)
3. Luke Jones (Triumph)
DNF. Scott Smart (Oxford TAG Triumph)
DNF. Shaun Winfield (Oxford TAG Triumph)
Race two – 10 laps (Sunday 20 October)
1. Stuart Easton (Yamaha)
2. Richard Cooper (Oxford TAG Triumph)
3. Alastair Seeley (Kawasaki)
10. Scott Smart (Oxford TAG Triumph)
15. Shaun Winfield (Oxford TAG Triumph)
Final championship standings (after 24 races)
1. Easton (422 points), 2. Seeley (409), 3. McConnell (327), 7. Cooper (202), 12. Smart (98), 19. Hornsey (26), 31. Winfield (4)