Cooper builds on maiden success with a further Bikesports brace
Still on a high following his maiden circuit racing wins at Oulton Park three weeks before, Cheshire autograss ace Phil Cooper added two more on his Brands Hatch debut. But the 1340cc Radical-suzuki PR6 pilot had to drive flat-out to pass Alan Hogg, whose lightning starts in his similarly motivated Spire GT3 wouldn’t have looked shabby at a drag race.
A detached paddleshift actuator curtailed Cooper’s qualifying efforts, but as he watched nervously from pitlane his pole time survived, rival Phil Knibb 0.25s short in Tracktimesolutions’ 1500cc Radical SR3.
Three attempts were needed to get Sunday’s first race away, Cooper having initially driven a second warm-up lap to go from the back, but a stoppage cued a fresh start and his return to the front. Again Hogg was quickest into his stride, but Cooper ground the deficit down as the leader’s tyres went off, charging ahead on lap 10.
The sequel was a longer action replay, for Hogg rocketed into a two-second lead and, despite Cooper closing relentlessly, clung on grimly until lap 16 when a tiny slip while lapping two cars at Graham Hill Bend saw Phil pounce. Hogg bounced back to finish in Cooper’s slipstream, a class lap record of 46.61s (93.30mph) some consolation.
Bold on the brakes Will Brown (PR6) scored two fine thirds ahead of Adrian Reynard (SR3), who capitalised on Knibb’s soft starts to wrest big-engined honours. Sometime Aintree Racing Drivers’ School scholarship winner and Formula Renault racer Knibb finished in the 1979 FF2000 Euroseries champion’s slipstream.
Cooper’s Radical eventually usurped Hogg for victory