Richard Cooper will race in the final round of the 2011 MCE British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch as a reward for his recent National Superstock title win.
Cooper sealed a second consecutive Superstock crown for BMW by wrapping up the title last time out at Silverstone and will now be given a chance to star on the Superbike stage with the same Buildbase team at Brands Hatch.
Cooper's debut comes despite Buildbase having two of its bikes and thousands of pounds worth of equipment stolen after the Silverstone event. However, thanks to an eagle-eyed member of the public spotting them in a road-side field, the bikes have now been recovered.
"First of all, I have to thank Martin Quigley for discovering our missing bikes,” said team principal Stuart Hicken. “His vigilance means we're able to race at the final round of the season and allow Richard to hopefully finish his year in style. Now Richard's hard work and consistency this year will be rewarded with the chance to compete in British Superbikes.
"Both Richard and Barry Burrell spent the weekend racing at the Stars of Darley Moor event where they finished ahead ofJohn McGuinness, Luke Stapleford, Keith Amor and Ian Lougher. Richard won both races on the BSB-spec bike he'll be running this weekend, providing some very setup time and on-track experience.
"We're delighted to be able to compete in the final round and, despite losing much of our equipment and spares to the thieves, thanks to the help and support of our friends in the paddock and the motorcycle industry, Mr Quigley, and the very hard work of the team, we'll be able to finish the season on a high.
Buildbase has endured a troublesome first season with the BMW S1000RR at Superbike level having struggled to make the bike consistently competitive. Indeed, with John Laverty sustaining serious injuries in a crash at Oulton Park and Ian Lowry defecting to MSS Colchester Kawasaki, Buildbase have concentrated much of its recent BSB efforts on EVO rider Barry Burrell.
Nonetheless, with Cooper stepping up to the Superbike alongside Lee Jackson, who has ridden the Buildbase BMW for the last three rounds, Hicken is confident of a strong end to the year.
“With Richard Cooper racing in both Superstock and BSB, Barry Burrell aiming for a top-three finish in the BSB-EVO series and Lee Jackson riding our second BSB bike, it's going to be another busy, but hopefully successful, weekend's racing."
Cooper was last seen in BSB at Mallory Park in 2009 when he took his Cup-spec Yamaha to a stunning fifth place finish overall, having also started on the front row. Cooper also made a World Superbike appearance with BMW Motorrad later in the year, coming close to scoring points in both races.