DAN Cooper came within half a lap of claiming his first ever win on the Isle of Man TT Mountain Course on Saturday.

The Stroud rider still scored a brilliant second place finish in the 500cc Classic TT race.

Riding Andy Molnar’s 500cc Manx Norton, the former 125cc British Champion led going into the final lap and although he was overhauled by eventual race winner Ian Lougher, he held on for his second podium finish in two years.

Having recorded the seventh fastest time during practice week at 106.985mph, the 27-year old was in confident mood coming into the race and after a one and a half hour delay, it finally got underway at 2pm. Dan signalled his intentions from the off and an opening lap of 107.988mph saw him immediately slot into third place behind pace setter Ryan Farquhar and Lougher.

He went quicker still on lap two with a speed of 108.042mph to remain in third but only nine seconds adrift of new leader Michael Rutter and when both he and Farquhar went out on lap three, Dan took over at the head of the field.

Going into the final lap his lead over Lougher was 13.9s but a combination of a broken exhaust mount and a loose handlebar, as well as Lougher’s quicker multi cylinder Paton machine, meant he was ultimately overtaken.

Nevertheless, he comfortably held onto second ahead of yet another multiple TT winner, Bruce Anstey, and his second place was one better than the third place he took 12 months ago in the 350cc Classic TT race.

Speaking afterwards, a delighted Dan said: “Today’s been a pretty good day having led my first TT race and finished second! I had a few problems during the race with the exhaust mount breaking towards the end of the first lap which meant I had to hold onto it with my leg whilst the handlebar was getting more and more loose as the race went on, almost coming back to the petrol tank.

"I wasn’t sure whether to stop or carry on but I decided I was going to carry on until the exhaust fell off but, thankfully, it didn’t and I just kept plugging away.

“Before the race, I really wanted to lap at more than 108mph so I’m well chuffed to have achieved that and had it not been for the problems, I’m sure I could have gone quicker still.

"It’s a bit of a shame I couldn’t have held onto the lead as it would have been a dream come true to have won but I could see I was slipping back and there was nothing I could do. We did the best we could on the day and it’s a very special feeling to be up on the TT podium. Roll on Monday where I hope to go one better in the 350cc race.”