The fortunes of the ACU Academy's road race stars was as mixed as the weather at round four of the British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park on Bank Holiday Monday.

The first race of the day was the BMW Boxer Cup race. With a full international field, it was Academy star Richard Cooper who set the track alight with a stunning performance.

Starting on full wets, Cooper soon took the lead and looked in commanding form. However, as the track dried, Cooper was reeled in and relegated to second. Fortunately, the gods were smiling on the 18 year-old Nottingham rider (pictured) and three laps from the end the heavens opened and he was able to regain his lead and secure a well earned win.

Fellow Academy rider Barry Burrell was running in third place until a breaking error saw him go straight on at the chicane and relegate himself to seventh. Still it was a great result for the 16 year-old who is the youngest rider in the championship.

In the domestic Championship races, it was Kieran Clarke and Cal Crutchlow, both racing in the Yamaha R6 Cup, who were to provide the excitement and probably greatest disappointment of the day.

After starting on pole position, Clarke led the race comfortably for a number of laps before being closed down by the chasing pack. Eventually Crutchlow took the lead, relegating Clarke to third, but Island bend proved to be disastrous for both. With rain falling on this section of the track, both boys lost traction and crashed out.

The 125GP class was equally sensational, with an eight bike battle which lasted for the entire race. Batting for the lead were Academy riders Daniel Coutts on the Padgett's Honda, UK Racings 14 year-old star Academy rider Tom Bridewell and, most sensationally, Chester Lusk on the SP125 Racing machine.

During the battle, it was 14 year-old Bridewell who was the man to watch, setting a fastest lap of 1m 46.6s, a clear second faster than his nearest rival.

Team UK1 racing Jon Boy Lee had a tough weekend, qualifying in 19th place on the grid. However, a solid ride pushed the 16 year-old up to a final position of 15th, with lap times that would have put him on the second row of the grid.

The Supersport 600 class gave Tom Sykes on the Northpoint Racing Machine a chance to repeat his early season form. Unfortunately for Sykes, still suffering from his Snetterton crash, a coming together with another rider in the closing stages of the race spoilt what would have been another top ten finish.

Triumph rider Craig Jones was having a better day, and despite a coming together with Rob Frost, managed to finish eighth for his best result so far this season.

Finally, BSB's youngest every racer, 17 year-old Howard Mainwaring, had a weekend of mixed fortunes with a solid ride in the first race, but a crash in race two.

The ACU Academy now set their sights on round 5, at Knockhill, Scotland.



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