Dan Cooper and the Centurion Racing team have enjoyed a strong week so far at the Isle of Man TT, with the Gloucestershire rider having posted some extremely competitive times. Having ridden Suzuki and Kawasaki machinery in the British championship and at the North West 200, Cooper is back on the Centurion Racing 1000cc Honda Fireblade and 675cc Triumph this week and has been improving his lap times with each and every session.
With conditions on the Island being perfect so far, with the exception of some bright evening sun causing problems in some sections of the course, a solid opening session on Monday saw Dan get dialled back into the 37.73-mile Mountain Course with laps of 116.142mph on the big bike and 113.532mph on the Triumph. These laps improved to 120.152mph and 116.469mph on Tuesday but with the weather being even better on Wednesday evening, and no sun to affect visibility, Dan showed how much he was progressing. A lap of 122.108mph on the Honda was only a few seconds adrift of his best ever lap of the Mountain Course (set on the final lap of last year’s Senior race) whilst the Triumph was also going well with a lap of 117.843mph.
Dan Cooper: “It feels great to be back riding at the TT with Centurion Racing and I absolutely love the place, there’s no better place to ride a bike than around the Mountain Course. I’ve loved it right from when I first came here in 2010 and it’s definitely been a case of ‘so far, so good’ this week. The biggest challenge has been getting used to the big bike again as I haven’t ridden it since this time last year. It takes a few sessions to get back into riding the 1000 and getting used to the speed as it’s a bit of an animal around here compared to the Supersport machine. The lap speeds have been good from the very first session and to lap at 122mph on Wednesday evening was brilliant, I’ve practically matched my personal best already so it bodes really well for the rest of the fortnight. We’ve had a few mapping issues with the Triumph but it was a lot better on Wednesday and I was happy enough with a 117mph+ lap. There’s more to come but we’ll just keep chipping away at what we’re doing and continue to make good progress.”
Paul Rees: “Things have been really good so far and I’m really pleased with the progress Dan has made. On just the second night of practice, he lapped at over 120mph and it’s pleasing to see how his sector times are improving with almost every lap. Wednesday night couldn’t have gone any better on the big bike and as the bike works better, the lap times are better and Dan’s confidence is increasing all the time. He’s still getting used to the 1000cc machine but his experience of the course is getting better and he’s learning more each time he goes out and that’s enabling him to give a lot more constructive feedback. That in turn allows the mechanics to give him the bike he wants. There’s been a slight misfire with the Triumph but, hopefully, that’s been resolved now and a solid 117mph+ lap was what we needed. Everyone’s working really well together so hopefully everything will continue in the same vein.”
Practice continues tonight and tomorrow evening with the first race, the 6-lap Superbike TT, taking place at 12.00pm on Saturday 2nd June.
Pictures by Mark ‘Wally’ Walters.
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