Round 1 - Silverstone - 7-9 April 2023

Richard Cooper takes victory in ABK Beer 0% BMW Motorrad F 900 R Cup season-opener

RICHARD Cooper took the win in round one of the ABK Beer 0% BMW Motorrad F900 R Cup at Silverstone on Easter Sunday.

The FHO Racing BMW Motorrad rider leads the championship after beating Thomas Strudwick by 3.084secs in the 20-lap race.

The brand new series - which runs as part of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship support programme – brought hard-fought action across the field, with four races in total over two days.

Cooper led the way in Good Friday’s practice and qualifying and was the winner of Saturday’s opening Heat, beating Bathams Racing rider Michael Rutter by 0.656secs as Nikki Coates finished third.

Heat two delivered an intense battle between Art of Racing’s Strudwick and Smith twins Christian and Kieran. All three took turns to lead but at the end, Christian got the better of his brother as Strudwick took third.

Sunday morning began with the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) race, giving riders the chance to secure one of the final grid spots for the main race. This was won by Peter Hasler who stole victory from Glynn Davies on the final lap with Oliver Lacey third.

Michael Rutter started from the coveted pole position for the Main Event on Sunday afternoon, ahead of Coates and Cooper. 

Strudwick led the opening laps but was soon passed by a charging Coates – but Coates’ race came to an early end when he was black-flagged due to failing to make a ride-through penalty for a jump start.

Strudwick was still ahead but soon came under pressure from Cooper, who took the lead on lap 13 as Rutter stuck close behind. From there Cooper was able to slowly build a lead which grew to 3.084secs by the flag, as Strudwick was second and Rutter third.

 

Main Event Race top six finishers:

  1. Richard Cooper (FHO Racing BMW Motorrad)
  2. Thomas Strudwick (Art of Racing) +3.084s
  3. Michael Rutter (Bathams Racing) +3.400
  4. Dom Herbertson (Belgrave Motors Racing) +16.107s
  5. James Kelly (Art of Racing) +24.413s
  6. James O’Mara (BRP Racing – Alton Compressions) +24.860s

 

Championship positions after round one:

  1. Richard Cooper 25
  2. Thomas Strudwick 22
  3. Michael Rutter 20
  4. Dominic Herbertson 18
  5. James Kelly 16
  6. James O’Mara 14
Round 2 - Oulton Park - 29 April-1 May 2023

Cooper dominates ABK Beer 0% BMW Motorrad F900 R Cup with Oulton win

FHO Racing BMW Motorrad’s Richard Cooper extended his lead in the ABK Beer 0% BMW Motorrad F900 R Cup with a strong win at Oulton Park on Bank Holiday Monday.

Cooper, who took victory in the season-opener at Silverstone last month, took command once again as he stalked to a win of almost 10 seconds over Art of Racing rider Thomas Strudwick in the 12-lap race.

It was another action-packed weekend for the new series – which runs as part of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship support programme – with close, hard-fought battles in all four races.

After leading practice and qualifying, Cooper took the Heat One win by 10.742secs over Christian Smith on the SCH Motoprep/Smith Twins Racing machine, as third place went to Rob McNealy.

Heat Two was a much closer fight, as early leader Strudwick came under intense pressure from Nikki Coates in the closing laps, eventually taking the flag just 0.104secs ahead, as James O’Mara took third.

Monday morning’s Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) race was led initially by polesitter Matt Stevens, but Van Glass’ Adrian Teasdale was on a charge, storming through from the fifth row to take the lead on lap two, eventually winning by 1.379secs over Marcus Tatchell with Stevens third.

For the Main Event, Cooper started from pole and converted it to the win, hitting the front at the start and controlling the race to the flag, eventually beating Strudwick by 9.895secs.

But the battle for third was much closer as Smith passed Coates on lap five but soon came under pressure from a charging Barry Burrell, who moved into third position on lap nine.

However, the former BSB rider’s hopes of a podium on his return to the paddock were dashed when he crashed on the penultimate lap, handing the final rostrum spot to Coates.

Further back, the LCQ runners were making big moves and charging through the order.

Fresh from his earlier win, Teasdale was filled with confidence and fought his way through to 20th place after starting 27th.

But the best progression came from Silverstone LCQ winner Glynn Davies, who started back in 32nd place and stormed through the pack to eventually cross the line 16th, while LCQ runner-up Marcus Tatchell also ran well, starting 28th and making up 10 places to finish 18th.

 

Main Event Race top six finishers:

  1. Richard Cooper (FHO Racing BMW Motorrad)
  2. Thomas Strudwick (Art of Racing) +9.895s
  3. Nikki Coates (Ernie Coates Track Days/AOR Racing) +18.807s
  4. Christian Smith (SCH Motoprep/Smith Twins Racing) +19.052s
  5. Michael Rutter (Bathams Racing) +19.993s
  6. James Kelly (Art of Racing) +26.660s

 

Championship positions after Round Two:

  1. Richard Cooper 50
  2. Thomas Strudwick 44
  3. Michael Rutter 36
  4. James Kelly 30
  5. James O’Mara 26
  6. Mason Johnson 22
Round 3 - Donnington Park GP (WSBK) - 30 June-2 July

Cooper makes it an ABK Beer 0% BMW Motorrad F900 R Cup hat-trick at Donington Park

RICHARD Cooper continued his winning ways as the ABK Beer 0% BMW Motorrad F900 R Cup action resumed at Donington Park.

The series made its debut on the international stage as it joined the World Superbike Championship for the UK round at the iconic track over the weekend – and as ever, the racing was close and action-packed all the way through the field.

FHO Racing BMW’s Cooper topped the practice timesheets before clocking the best lap in qualifying to take pole for Heat One, as Nikki Coates, second quickest on the Ernie Coates Trackdays/AOR Racing machine, led the grid for Heat Two.

Cooper didn’t have an easy run as Art of Racing’s Thomas Strudwick fought him all the way, the pair swapping places throughout the race until Cooper took control on the last lap to cross the line 1.989secs ahead, as Mallory Performance Racing’s Barry Burrell was third.

Coates also struggled in his heat, dropping back to seventh after a bad start as Michael Rutter hit the front. But Coates quickly regrouped and fought his way back through the order and passed Batham Racing’s Rutter to win by 0.292secs with Christian Smith third on the SCH Motoprep/Smith Twins Racing machine.

The Last Chance Qualifier kicked-off Sunday’s race action, with polesitter Tom Stevens getting a good start to lead the opening laps. Behind, Lavante Racing’s Andre Compton was flying and quickly caught the Tech 5 Racing rider and battle commenced as the pair swapped the lead between them several times on the way to the flag.

Stevens got the win, as Churchill/Roy Pidock BMW Racing Team’s Oliver Lacey came through to steal second and Compton had to settle for third.

All that remained was the main race, held shortly before the WSB Superpole race and in front of thousands of race fans – and once again Cooper proved to be unbeatable.

This time it was Smith who started from pole, but Coates hit the front at the start as Cooper shot through from the second row to move up to second and had passed Coates for the lead by the end of the lap.

Coates crashed on lap two ending his charge as Cooper began to build a comfortable lead over Strudwick, which he stretched to 6.248secs by the chequered flag.

As Strudwick took second, Rutter held off Burrell for third as BRP Racing – Alton Compressors rider James O’Mara took fifth ahead of Bowker Motorrad’s Kieran Smith.

Further back, LCQ winner Stevens finished 27th, but it was a much stronger run for Compton, who was determined to make up for missing out on the earlier win and fought his way through from 29th on the grid to finish an impressive 14th while Lacey took 20th.

 

Main Event Race Top Six:

1.    Richard Cooper (FHO Racing BMW Motorrad)

2.    Thomas Strudwick (Art of Racing) +6.248s

3.    Michael Rutter (Batham’s Racing) +15.996s

4.   Barry Burrell (Mallory Performance Racing) +16.542s

5.    James O’Mara (BRP Racing – Alton Compressors) +16.960s

6.    Kieran Smith (Bowker Motorrad) +19.782s

Round 4 - Snetterton - 7-9 July 2023

Cooper continues ABK Beer 0% BMW Motorrad F900 R Cup winning run at Snetterton

RICHARD Cooper took his ABK Beer 0% BMW Motorrad F900 R Cup Main Event race win tally to four and extended his points lead as he beat Thomas Strudwick at Snetterton.

But the former BSB rider and multiple National Superstock champion didn’t have it all his own way at Round Four as Strudwick kept him honest all the way to the final chequered flag.

Just five days after the flag fell on Round Three at Donington Park as part of the World Superbike Championship support programme, the action resumed at the Norfolk track and once again, the FHO Racing BMW Motorrad rider led the way.

Topping the free practice timesheets, he set the best lap in qualifying to take pole for Heat One, as Art of Racing’s Thomas Strudwick was second fastest to head the grid for Heat Two.

Cooper’s Heat brought a race-long battle with close friend and former team-mate, Mallory Performance Racing’s Barry Burrell, Cooper eventually beating him by 1.465secs as James O’Mara on the BRP Racing-Alton Compressors machine was third.

Strudwick, meanwhile, manged to hold off Ernie Coates Track Days/AOR Racing rival Nikki Coates to win his Heat by 1.555secs with Bowker Motorrad’s Kieran Smith third.

Saturday evening’s Last Chance Qualifier delivered two stunning charges through the field for SCH Motoprep/Smith Twins Racing rider Christian Smith and Lavante Racing’s Andre Compton who both stormed through from the back of the grid to be running second and third by the end of lap one.

Smith went on to take the win by 6.390secs over Compton as polesitter Matt Stevens held on to third.

All that was left was the Main Event, held straight after the first Bennetts British Superbike race on Sunday afternoon, with O’Mara heading the grid ahead of Kristian Smith and Coates.

O’Mara led into Turn One but was quickly passed by Strudwick and Burrell who shot through from the second row and before the end of the lap, Cooper was past Burrell and chasing down Strudwick.

Coates also passed Burrell and held position until he crashed out on lap four and as Burrell settled back into third, Strudwick and Cooper were soon five seconds clear at the front and spent the whole race locked together.

Both took their turn leading, Cooper hitting the front again on the penultimate lap and the pair headed into the last lap both determined to come out on top. However, they both had to lap two other riders on the final lap which held Strudwick up very slightly, giving Cooper the chance power to the line 0.548secs ahead for the win.

Burrell finished third, almost 12 seconds behind Strudwick as the series’ youngest competitor, teenager Mason Johnson, took fourth on his Johnson Racing machine ahead of O’Mara in fifth.

Kristian Smith was sixth, just one place ahead of twin brother Christian. Following his LCQ success, Christian made an another incredible charge through the field, this time making up 20 positions after starting 27th.

LCQ runner-up Compton also made big strides in the main race, coming through from 28th to finish 15th as Matt Stevens fought back from 29th on the grid to finish 20th.

ABK Beer 0% BMW Motorrad F900 R Cup Snetterton, Main Event Top Six:

1. Richard Cooper (FHO Racing BMW Motorrad)

2. Thomas Strudwick (Art of Racing) +0.548s

3. Barry Burrell (Mallory Performance Racing) +12.239s

4. Mason Johnson (Johnson Racing) +16.907s

5. James O’Mara (BRP Racing – Alton Compressors) +16.985s

6. Kieran Smith (Bowker Motorrad) +19.235s

Championship top six after Round Four:

1. Richard Cooper 100

2. Thomas Strudwick 88

3. James O’Mara 58

4. Michael Rutter 56

5. James Kelly 52

6. Mason Johnson 50

Round 5 - Brands Hatch GP - 21-23 July 2023

Five out of five as Cooper beats Strudwick in hard-fought Brands Hatch battle

RICHARD Cooper remains unbeaten after Round Five of the inaugural ABK Beer 0% BMW Motorrad F900 R Cup at Brands Hatch after scoring another win from Thomas Strudwick.

However, it wasn’t an easy battle for FHO Racing BMW Motorrad rider, as Strudwick put up a tough fight at the iconic Kent track.

A fortnight after Round Four at Snetterton, it was business as usual as the F900 R machines hit the famous circuit for the first time, Cooper topping the timesheets in practice before clocking the best qualifying lap to head the grid for Heat One as Strudwick was second quickest to claim pole position for Heat Two.

As heavy rain hit most of the country on Saturday afternoon, both Heats were held in the wet, Cooper wasting no time in building a big gap behind him as he hit the front, eventually winning the race 7.093secs ahead of James O’Mara on the BRP Racing-Alton Compressors machine as Ernie Coates Track Days/AOR Racing rider Nikki Coates was third.

But Heat Two brought a new winner, as Nagy Racing’s James Nagy made a flying start, powering through from the third row to take the lead on the opening lap. Art of Racing’s James Kelly passed him on the final lap but Nagy wasn’t giving up and fought back, taking the win in a drag to the line. Mallory Performance Racing’s Barry Burrell took third as Strudwick had to settle for fifth.

Sunday morning’s Last Chance Qualifier went the way of Andre Compton, as the Lavante Racing rider converted pole position into a lights-to-flag win. Mason Johnson stormed through from 19th on the grid to finish second on his Johnson Racing machine, making up for a bad race on Saturday as PH Europe/Mymedic MT14 Racing’s Marcus Tatchell took his first podium in third.

Coates lined up on pole for Sunday afternoon’s Main Event but by turn two, Cooper had powered through from fourth on the grid to lead. Behind, Strudwick had started 10th but after a storming start was running second behind Cooper by the end of the first lap.

It quickly became a two rider battle as the pair swapped the lead several times over the 10 lap race while Burrell kept a watching brief from third. Refusing to give up, Strudwick continued to harass Cooper and despite making a move that looked like it would stick on the penultimate lap, he was powerless to stop his rival sneaking straight back past.

Any hopes Strudwick had of catching Cooper on the final lap were dashed after he accidentally hit the kill switch, losing just enough time to give Cooper a second advantage as he crossed the line to bank win number five, as Burrell held onto third ahead of Coates.

Behind, there were two brilliant results for series newcomers Levi Day and Bjorn Estment who were both making their debut at Brands Hatch. Australia’s Day, aboard the Quickfabs Racing machine finished fifth, some 13 seconds behind Coates as Estment followed him home sixth for the BMW by Catfoss squad.

LCQ winner Andre Compton was flying once again, storming through from 27th on the grid to cross the line 16th, as Johnson managed to climb up to 10th and Tatchell was 19th.

Charlie King, also making his series debut this weekend after several years without any racing at all, took 21st.

 

ABK Beer 0% BMW Motorrad F900 R Cup Brands Hatch Main Event Top Six:

1.    Richard Cooper (FHO Racing BMW Motorrad)

2.    Thomas Strudwick (Art of Racing) +1.086s

3.    Barry Burrell (Mallory Performance Racing) +2.809s

4.    Nikki Coates (Ernie Coates Track Days/AOR Racing) +5.825s

5.    Levi Day (Quickfabs Racing) +18.879s

6.    Bjorn Estment (BMW by Catfoss) +20.895s

Championship top six after Round Five:

1.    Richard Cooper       125

2.    Thomas Strudwick   110

3.    James O’Mara         58

4.    Barry Burrell            58

5.    Michael Rutter         56

6.    Mason Johnson       56

Round 6 - Thruxton - 11-13 August 2023

Cooper’s perfect run continues with win number six at Thruxton

RICHARD Cooper continued his unbeaten run as he stormed to his sixth win from six races as the ABK Beer 0% BMW Motorrad F900 R Cup made its Thruxton debut.

The FHO Racing BMW Motorrad rider beat Barry Burrell by just under half a second as the series tackled the UK’s fastest circuit, to go 20 points clear at the top of the points table.

With both free practice sessions taking place on Friday morning at the Hampshire circuit, Cooper took early control, topping the timesheets in each before clocking the best lap in Saturday morning’s qualifying session to secure pole for Heat One, with Bowker Motorrad/Smith Twins Racing’s Kieran Smith heading the grid for the second.

For a few laps it looked like Cooper’s winning run could be over as he dropped to fourth on lap two, but it took just two more laps to hit the front before storming to victory 1.364secs ahead of Art of Racing’s Thomas Strudwick as Johnson Racing pilot Mason Johnson finished third.

Heat Two went the way of Nikki Coates aboard his distinctive Ernie Coates Track Days/AOR Racing machine, who managed to hold-off polesitter Smith to win by just 0.162 secs, as Burrell, now running under his own banner after securing the budget to complete the season, was third.

One rider left frustrated after the Heat races was Nagy Racing’s James Nagy – a Heat winner last time out – who crashed on the last lap after a technical problem. 

However, he was back out for Saturday evening’s Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) and made up for the earlier disappointment by beating Matt Stevens on the Tech 5 Racing machine by 0.637secs with WSC Performance BMW’s Simon Bastable a close third.

Coates was the lucky rider selected for pole in the championship’s ball draw and lined up alongside Kieran Smith with Mason Johnson on the front row for Sunday afternoon’s Main Event. 

Smith got the best start and led briefly but was passed seconds later by Burrell who charged through from the second row.

But Coates was right with them and moved back ahead in the opening lap as further back, SCH Motoprep/Smith Twins Racing’s Christian Smith tangled with Mason Johnson who crashed out. Cooper was caught up in the incident and ran wide, dropping several places but quickly regrouped and set about chasing the leaders. 

Burrell took the lead on lap three as behind, Cooper moved from fifth to second in just two corners as he passed Smith, Coates and Strudwick before taking the lead a lap later.

He dropped to fourth on lap four after a move by Strudwick forced him wide, but he was soon back ahead and defending his lead as the top four stayed close. With a lap to go, Burrell was second and looked to be catching his old friend, but Cooper had enough of a gap to bring his machine home 0.483secs clear, as Strudwick secured third with a last lap pass on Smith.

But perhaps the ride of the day came from LCQ winner Nagy, who made up an astonishing 18 places during the race, starting 27th and crossing the line in ninth place.

Mike Booth was once again racing the Pyramid Racing by 44Teeth machine usually piloted by Alastair Fagan, taking a solid 16th while fellow motorsport journalist Adam Child finished 25th in his series debut.

 

ABK Beer 0% BMW Motorrad F900 R Cup Thruxton Main Event Top Six:

1. Richard Cooper (FHO Racing BMW Motorrad)

2. Barry Burrell (Barry Burrell) +0.453s

3. Thomas Strudwick (Art of Racing) +2.511s

4. Nikki Coates (Ernie Coates Track Days/AOR Racing) +2.623s

5. Kieran Smith (Bowker Motorrad/Smith Twins Racing) +3.008s

6. Dom Herbertson (Belgrave Motors Racing) +11.995s

 

Championship top six after Round Six:

1. Richard Cooper 150

2. Thomas Strudwick 130

3. Barry Burrell 80

4. James O’Mara 68

5. James Kelly 58

6. Michael Rutter 56

Round 7 - Cadwell Park - 25-28 August 2023

Seventh Heaven as Cooper Takes Cadwell Win

Richard Cooper added to his perfect score in the augural ABK Beer 0% BMW Motorrad F900 R Cup as he stormed to his seventh win of the season at Cadwell Park.

The FHO Racing BMW rider beat championship rival Thomas Strudwick by 4.299secs as the series visited the iconic Lincolnshire track for the first time – and now leads by 23 points with just two rounds to go.

It was a damp start to the traditional Bank Holiday weekend event, with Cooper leading free practice from Christian Smith before the pack headed out to a damp but drying track for qualifying later in the day.

Cooper was again quickest to secure pole for Heat One, as his old friend Barry Burrell, once again riding under his own ‘Barry Burrell’ banner was second to lead the grid for Heat Two.

A clean start gave Cooper an early lead which was never challenged as he slowly built a gap to Art of Racing’s Strudwick behind, beating him by 6.409secs as Christian Smith took third on his SCH Motoprep/Smith Twins Racing machine.

Heat Two went the way of the other Smith twin, Kieran, on the Bowker Motorrad/Smith Twins Racing bike who was delighted to pick up his first victory of the year as he held off Nikki Coates to win by 6.819secs with Mike Smith third.

With no LCQ race at Cadwell Park, the pack enjoyed a 10-minute warm-up session on Bank Holiday Monday morning, led by Cooper from Burrell as Christian Smith was third just ahead of Kieran.

The Main Event was the last race of the day, firing up at 5.15pm with Cooper on pole ahead of Ernie Coates Track Days/AOR Racing’s Coates and Strudwick, with an all-Smith second row of Christian, Kieran and the non-related Mike.

Coates was quickest off the line to lead into turn one as Strudwick slotted into second and Cooper third – but by the end of the lap, Cooper had squeezed past both and was in the lead.

On lap two, Strudwick dived past and into the lead as Coates’ race came to an early and disappointing end as he crashed from third place. A lap later, Cooper was back ahead but his young rival wasn’t giving up, stealing it back for a few corners before Cooper moved back in front.

This time, Cooper wasn’t messing about and quickly edged a small gap and by lap seven had two seconds in hand, which grew as the laps went by, eventually taking the win 4.299secs ahead to celebrate his seventh win from seven races.

Christian Smith had a solid race in third place, holding off Barry Burrell who somehow overcame a last lap tangle with a back marker which sent him running over the grass to take fourth. Kieran Smith took fifth, with Johnson Racing’s Mason Johnson sixth.

James O’Mara secured seventh place on his BRP-Alton Compressors machine as Charlie King, in just his second race, got the better of Harley Prebble for eighth and Art of Racing’s James Kelly rounded out the top 10.

Cooper has now stretched his lead over Strudwick to 23 points, as the series takes a five week break ahead of the penultimate round at Donington Park over the weekend September 29-October 1.

ABK Beer 0% BMW Motorrad F900 R Cup, Cadwell Park result:

1.    Richard Cooper (FHO Racing BMW Motorrad)

2.    Thomas Strudwick (Art of Racing) +4.299s

3.    Christian Smith (SCH Motoprep/Smith Twins Racing) +10.218s

4.    Barry Burrell (Barry Burrell) +11.824s

5.    Kieran Smith (Bowker Motorrad/Smith Twins Racing) +16.035s

6.    Mason Johnson (Johnson Racing) +19.158s

Round 8 - Donnington Park - 29 September-1 October 2023

Super Cooper Storms to Win Number Eight

Richard Cooper continued his unbeatable run as he held off main points rival Thomas Strudwick to take his eighth consecutive ABK Beer 0% BMW Motorrad F900 R Cup race win at Donington Park.

But it was a much closer call as the championship headed to its penultimate round at the iconic track, as FHO Racing BMW Motorrad’s Cooper beat Art of Racing’s Strudwick by less than a second.

Topping the free practice timesheets as action got underway on Friday, Cooper then set the quickest time in qualifying to secure pole for Heat One, as Bowker Motorrad/Smith Twins Racing’s Kieran Smith was second fastest to take pole for Heat Two.

Leading off the line, Cooper came under immediate pressure from a determined Strudwick, the pair swapping the lead several times in the early laps before the points leader broke clear to eventually win by 1.4secs as Christian Smith was third on his SCH Motoprep/Smith Twins Racing machine.

In Heat Two, Ernie Coates Track Days/AOR Racing rider Nikki Coates got a flying start from second on the grid and took early charge, beating Kieran Smith by 4.688secs.

However, the star of the heats was Michael Rutter, making a wildcard comeback with the Bathams Racing team, who stormed all the way from the back of the grid to take an impressive third.

And it was another wildcard who impressed in Saturday afternoon’s Last Chance Qualifier, as roads specialist Brian McCormack took the spoils. 

Benji Compton started from pole on his Quickfabs Racing machine and took an early lead but McCormack was flying and soon found his way past, the Roadhouse Macau Racing rider eventually beating Jordz Racing’s Jordan Ashington by 1.411secs.

Behind, James O’Mara redeemed himself after crashing out of Heat Two and after piecing his BRP Racing–Alton Compressors bike back together, he crossed the line third with Compton fourth.

Strudwick started Sunday morning’s Main Event from pole with Cooper beside him but there was drama even before the lights changed as Rutter, due to start fifth on the grid, pulled in to retire at the end of the warm up lap while Coates was also missing from the second row as he started from the pit lane.

Strudwick got the perfect start and launched himself into the lead with Cooper tucked in behind, making a pass on lap two. But Strudwick was in fighting mood and struck back, the pair battling hard in the opening laps until Cooper got ahead on lap five and appeared to take control.

Strudwick stuck close to his back wheel while behind, Coates was carving his way through the field, reaching fourth place by lap seven. But a lap later he went to take a long lap penalty and accidentally ran into the gravel, dropping a handful of places and rejoining 11th.

Cooper finally found a bit of breathing space on the penultimate lap and stormed to the line 0.763secs clear of Strudwick as Christian Smith fought off a hard-charging Mason Johnson to take third, the Johnson Racing machine ending the race in a Smith twin sandwich, with Kieran fifth as Barry Burrell took sixth.

Coates, meanwhile, fought his way back up to finish eighth as O’Mara was the best of the LCQ finishers, taking 19th at the flag as wildcard McCormack was 28th.

There is now just one remaining round of the inaugural ABK Beer 0% BMW Motorrad F900 R Cup, which will be held at Brands Hatch over the weekend October 13-15.

 

ABK Beer 0% BMW Motorrad F900 R Cup, Donington Park result:

1. Richard Cooper (FHO Racing BMW Motorrad)

2. Thomas Strudwick (Art of Racing) +0.763secs

3. Christian Smith (SCH Motoprep/Smith Twins Racing) +16.824s

4. Mason Johnson (Johnson Racing) +16.979s

5. Kieran Smith (Bowker Motorrad/Smith Twins Racing) +17.164s

6. Barry Burrell (Barry Burrell) +17.394s

 

Championship positions after Round Eight:

1. Richard Cooper 200

2. Thomas Strudwick 174

3. Barry Burrell 112

4. Mason Johnson 88

5. Kieran Smith 87

6. Christian Smith 82

Round 9 - Brands Hatch GP - 13-15 October 2023

RICHARD Cooper was crowned ABK Beer 0% BMW Motorrad F900 R Cup Champion after storming to his ninth win from nine races at Brands Hatch yesterday.

After dominating the season and winning all Main Event races, FHO Racing BMW Motorrad’s Cooper lifted the inaugural title after beating his season-long rival Thomas Strudwick in the final battle of the year.

Cooper, who even delayed travelling to his own wedding in Turkey earlier this month so he could compete at the penultimate round, was determined to seal the deal with a win as the series concluded at the iconic Kent track, as part of the prestigious Bennetts British Superbike Championship season finale.

The final weekend got underway in damp conditions and with both Cooper and Art of Racing rider Strudwick opting to sit out of the session, it was Nikki Coates who topped the timesheets.

But it was business as usual in qualifying as Cooper stormed to the fastest lap to secure pole for Heat One, while Coates’s form continued aboard his Ernie Coates Track Days/AOR machine to seal pole for the second.

Cooper got the best start and led into turn one, but by the end of the first lap it was Michael Rutter – back in action on the Bathams Racing machine – who led the pack across the line. However, Cooper was back ahead moments later and took charge, stretching a lead to take the win by 2.067secs over Rutter with SCH Motoprep/Smith Twins Racing’s Christian Smith third.

Heat Two brought drama, as Coates, who had led most of the seven-lap race, appeared to lose the front on the final lap, collecting James Kelly who was behind and the pair crashed out. Strudwick, who was running third, picked up the win, 1.526secs clear of Glynn Davies of Epic Racing as McNealy Brown’s Rob McNealy was third.

Coates and Kelly were among the riders forced to fight it out for a final time in Sunday morning’s Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ), starting back on row six as Scott Carson headed the grid.

Coates was on a mission, storming through from 18th to third by the second lap and seconds later passed polesitter Scott Carson and then leader Andre Compton to hit the front. He stayed ahead to take the chequered flag 2.563secs clear of Lavante Racing’s Compton, as Harley Prebble took third. Carson, on his Venture Healthcare Ltd machine held on for fourth as Kelly took fifth.

With McNealy lining up in pole position, the stage was set for the final showdown, with Strudwick second on the grid beside Davies, as Cooper headed row two.

Strudwick was fastest off the line to lead into turn one, as Cooper shot up to second and within three corners had stuck a move on his rival and taken the lead. Strudwick, however, was in fighting mood and quickly hit back and the battle began, the lead swapping four times in the opening lap alone.

Strudwick started lap two ahead but Cooper soon was back in front, the pair jostling for position until Cooper got ahead at the end of lap two and took charge. Strudwick stayed on his back wheel as the laps counted down, having a couple of glances but never trying another move.

By lap nine, Cooper had a visible gap between himself and Strudwick and the pair had dropped the rest of the field. The gap proved too large to bridge for Strudwick and he was unable to get close enough for a further challenge, Cooper eventually winning by 3.469secs.

As Johnson Racing’s Mason Johnson held off Christian Smith for third, LCQ winner Nikki Coates stormed through from 27th on the grid to take a strong fifth, just ahead of Belgrave Motors Racing’s Dominic Herbertson.

Adding an extra touch of excitement to the season finale was two-time World Superbike champion and former MotoGP pilot Troy Corser, who joined the pack as a wildcard entry on the number 111 machine.

Spending the first two sessions getting accustomed to the bike, he pulled in a top five result in Heat Two before enjoying an exciting battle with Rutter in the Main Event, crossing the line eighth.

 

ABK Beer 0% BMW Motorrad F900 R Cup, Brands Hatch result:

1.    Richard Cooper (FHO Racing BMW Motorrad)

2.    Thomas Strudwick (Art of Racing) +3.469s

3.    Mason Johnson (Johnson Racing) +10.990s

4.    Christian Smith (SCH Motoprep/Smith Twins Racing) +11.017s

5.    Nikki Coates (Ernie Coates Track Days/AOR Racing) +18.961s

6.    Dominic Herbertson (Belgrave Motors Racing) +19.100s

 

ABK Beer 0% BMW F900 R Cup, championship points after final round:

1. Richard Cooper 235 (champion)

2. Thomas Strudwick 204

3. Mason Johnson 115

4. Barry Burrell 112

5. Christian Smith 106

6. Nikki Coates 88

7. Kieran Smith 87

8. Dominic Herbertson 83

9. James O’Mara 80

10. Michael Rutter 70

Link to full/all results:  https://www.tsl-timing.com/event/234104

Take a look at the full BSB Standings here.

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