DAN COOPER resumed his 2019 Pirelli National Superstcok 1000 Championship campaign at Thruxton over the weekend with the Stroud rider taking a solid 23rd place finish as he competed at the Hampshire venue for the first time in seven years.

Despite it being his local circuit, it was Dan’s first visit to Thruxton since 2012 and 30th position was the outcome in Friday’s first free practice session after a lap of 1m20.185s on the Impcross Engineering BMW.

However, he improved to 28th later in the afternoon after shaving almost 1.5s off his lap time to cut the gap to the leaders to 2.4s and with Saturday’s solitary qualifying session seeing a further improvement of three-quarters of a second around the 2.35-mile circuit, he lined up for Sunday’s race in 29th place on the grid.

Conditions on Sunday were cloudy but warm and a solid start to the 16-lap race saw Dan slot into 30th place as he got his first ever 1000cc race around the high-speed circuit underway. As expected, the race was extremely close with the riders evenly matched and that meant progress was hard to come by but Dan had moved up to 26th place by half race distance.

Lapping quicker than what he had done in qualifying – a feat not achieved by many during the race – he never stopped moving forward and although he was ultimately unable to move up into the points, it was a strong ride nevertheless and his efforts were rewarded with a strong 23rd place at the conclusion of the 16, hard fought laps.

Cooper said: “I was really looking forward to coming back to Thruxton but I must admit I’ve struggled a bit this weekend and I always found it a bit difficult when I was competing regularly in the British Championship. It was hard getting dialled back in after a long time away from here and despite it being close to home, it’s the circuit I’ve ridden on least on the BSB calendar! The lap times gradually came down in practice and qualifying although it was a bit frustrating as I wasn’t moving up the leaderboard as I would have liked.”

“A lot of the riders seemed to have pace for one lap though and not much more whilst I knew my race pace was quite strong so I felt quite optimistic going into the race. With the high temperatures, it was extremely hard work though and whilst I was happy with the end result, lapping faster than what I had done in qualifying and moving forward a number of places, it was also frustrating as I felt I had the pace to be further up. I need to be more aggressive in the first few laps and put myself in a better position in qualifying but it was a really enjoyable race and so much fun so I’m happy enough.”

The series now moves to Cadwell Park, Lincolnshire with round nine taking place on August