Dan Cooper and the Cornish-based Centurion Racing Team got their TT race week off to a superb start today when the Stroud rider finished in a brilliant 19th place in Saturday's Dainese Superbike TT which was his first ever top 20 finish around the demanding Mountain Course.
After losing Friday night's final practice session due to an oil spillage, Dan came into the race without having been able to ride the bike after a few last minute changes but he was soon heading off down Bray Hill for the first of the six laps. Despite having to slow for an accident involving Simon Andrews, an opening lap of 122.060mph saw Dan slot into 25th place and, going quicker still on lap two, he moved up to 21st.
With a good first pit stop, Dan was up to 19th and here he remained until the end of the race and his final lap of 123.654mph was his best ever lap of the 37.73-mile course as he ended up just one second adrift of 18th en route to another bronze replica for his efforts.
Dan Cooper: "It was good to get the first lap out the way and once I'd completed that I could really get into the race and find my rhythm. We only got out on Friday night on the Supersport machine so didn't get chance to test the changes we'd made to the Fireblade but after that first lap I was happy with the bike and able to push on. I felt dialled in and although I was put off a bit when I saw Simon had crashed, I tried to put it to the back of my mind and press on as best I could. I found a good rhythm and kept plugging away so to finish in 19th and lap close to 124mph is very pleasing. It was quite a lonely race for me but that allowed me to concentrate on what I was doing and there really is no better place to ride a motorbike than at the TT."
Paul Rees: "A top twenty finish and near 124mph lap in the first race of the week is absolutely brilliant and the whole team is chuffed to bits with Dan's result. It's our first top 20 finish and just rewards for all the hard work put in by the team of mechanics. All their hours of effort and preparation has really shone through so the week couldn't have started any better. The result adds more confidence to Dan and with some great showings in practice on the Supersport machine as well, he can hopefully progress further up the leaderboard as the week progresses."
The crash involving Simon Andrews occurred at the Graham Memorial on the Mountain section of the course and the Honda TT Legends rider was taken to hospital with a broken wrist and ankle as well as a dislocated shoulder.
After a day's rest, 24 year old Dan will be back out in action on Monday for the four-lap Monster Energy Supersport race one aboard a 675cc Triumph and a Honda Fireblade for the four-lap Royal London 360 Superstock race.
As in 2011, Centurion Racing will continue to show their support for Help for Heroes, their chosen charity, by displaying H4H logos on the bikes and team attire. Team Principal Paul Rees, who spent 20 years in Her Majesty's Royal Marine Commandos, was given permission to have the bikes carry the H4H logos in order to encourage the public to be more aware of this charity that supports our Armed Forces, many of whom are making daily sacrifices in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Centurion Racing would specially like to thank Arai, FTR, GPR Racewear, Dunlop, Rage Designs, RichArt, R2 Logo Print & Embroidery, Akrapovic, Daytona, and all our friends and followers.