RICHARD Cooper has revealed exclusively to UK Clubsport that he was forced to turn down a Macau Grand Prix ride for at least another year.
Buildbase Suzuki’s National Superstock champion, who lifted his sixth Stars at Darley title last weekend, will instead return to South America where he will race in the final round of the Caribbean Motor Racing Championship (CMRC).
The news comes five months on from Cooper’s impressive road racing debut, where he stunned crowds at the North West 200 and scooped a podium finish in his very first competitive appearance on the north coast.
After it was revealed earlier this month that he will be heading to New Zealand on Boxing Day for the final round of the Suzuki Series at the Cemetery Circuit this December, rumours abound that he could also be eyeing a Macau GP debut.
But a trip to the Far East will have to wait until at least 2020 as the bike ace has opted for another venture in Guyana after discovering a date clash.
“Macau was on the cards and I got accepted for an entry and all that,” Cooper told UK Clubsport. “But the reason I’m not doing it is because I had already agreed to ride in the last round of the Caribbean championship in South America and I didn’t realise it clashes.
“I’ve always been a man of my word and since I agreed to those lads first, I didn’t want to turn back and say ‘no I’m doing Macau now’. For the South America race in Guyana I’ll have a factory Graves Yamaha to ride, I believe it’s an ex-JD Beach MotoAmerica bike.
“The championship is massive, people are 10 deep along the fence. I did it last year but no one really knew because I wasn’t shouting about it. It’s a six round series run in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean countries, and the last round is in Guyana which will be the team owner’s home race.”
Just over a month after the South American scrap, Cooper will board a flight to Kiwi shores for his debut on the streets that make up the Cemetery Circuit in Wanganui.
“I saw on Facebook last year what Hicky was doing over in New Zealand and I thought ‘what’s going on here?’. When it’s December and there’s nothing happening and that comes on your news feed, you’re like ‘what’s this? Someone’s riding!’
“So after the Caribbean championship I’m going to New Zealand to race at the Cemetery Circuit on a Sloan Frost Suzuki. It’s going to be a busy couple of months with everything going on, but I’m really looking forward to it.”
Cooper, who is believed to be racing in the Caribbean series alongside Dan Linfoot and Harry Truelove, will head to Bishopscourt in Northern Ireland next weekend where he will look to defend his Sunflower Trophy crown after his debut win last season.
*Images: Suzuki GB, Pacemaker Press