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Isle of Man TT dream for bike racing Forres Academy pupil

By Garry McCartney

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Daniel on his Kawasaki Ninja 300.
Daniel on his Kawasaki Ninja 300.

A local teenager who started motorcycle racing in 2021 is already on the road to a professional career in the sport.

Forres Academy pupil, Daniel Cooper (15), who recently secured his first win in the Knockhill Motor Sports Club 300s, hopes eventually to compete in the Isle of Man TT.

He said: “The adrenaline rush of taking corners at high speed is like nothing else. I’m in the restricted class at the moment. My standings in the championship’s I race is third, battling for second in Scottish and second in Melville at East Fortune. I ride a Kawasaki Ninja 300 - top speed 100mph. We recently bought a Suzuki SV650 Lightweight for the 2024 season. Hopefully, I will ride it for at least one round this year too. Its top speed is about 140mph.”

Daniel's new Suzuki SV650 Lightweight motorbike.
Daniel's new Suzuki SV650 Lightweight motorbike.

In 2020, Daniel’s dad Mike bought his own first motorcycle; a Honda 600 pre-injection. It wasn’t long before Daniel joined him on the back in his own leathers and helmet.

He said: “My parents, Mike and Tracey, then got me a 110cc pit bike when I was 13. However, it got too small so my dad asked me if I wanted to get another dirt bike or a road bike - he offered to convert the road bike to a race bike, so the choice was obvious!”

A few weeks later, Daniel and Mike went to Oulton Park in Cheshire to watch the Bennetts British Superbike Championship. After the first day of the event, Daniel knew what he wanted to do with his life. Last January, father and son bought Daniel’s race bike in Manchester. Two months later, Daniel attempted his race licence at East Fortune Race Circuit near Edinburgh.

He said: “That same weekend, I passed my theory and went out on the track. However, as it was my first time, I failed the practical assessment. One of the Scottish Auto Cycle Union workers recommended I go to Teesside Karting, Middlesbrough to get some track time so we drove down for two days’ riding and it paid off. In August, we drove down to Knockhill Racing Track to do a repeat test and I passed!”

Tracey and Mike Cooper are very proud of their son. Picture: Beth Taylor
Tracey and Mike Cooper are very proud of their son. Picture: Beth Taylor

Daniel now physically conditions for track racing in Lossiemouth at CLH Physio and Sports Therapy, as well as at Forres Fitness Centre.

Racing is an expensive sport - Daniel needs sponsorship to afford entry fees, parts, protective clothing and equipment.

He said: “My current sponsors include Firthview Windows, CLH Physio, Sports Therapy, Mr Moto, Torness Plant, the bank of mum and dad ... Not forgetting my nan and grandad!Without them, I couldn’t have started to realise my dream.”

He added: “Having sponsors, supporters, family and friends behind me is a big confidence boost. There are a lot of ups and downs, including crashes, bike repairs but I’m determined to succeed.”

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