Dan Cooper was cruelly denied his first win around the Isle of Man Mountain Course when the Stroud rider was forced to retire from Monday afternoon's 350cc Classic TT whilst leading.

Riding the 350cc Molnar Manx Norton, Dan was lying in second place after the first lap around the 37.73-mile course but it was close as he was only 1.8s behind race leader Michael Rutter. On the second lap, Dan took over the lead with his gap over Rutter up to almost three seconds at Ramsey Hairpin. Rutter reduced that slightly over the final third of the lap but with a speed of 101.613mph, Dan led by 1.3s with just one lap to go.

However, hopes of a maiden win were dashed when the former 125cc British Champion stopped at Ballacraine, seven miles into the final lap, the combination of a split fuel tank and engine problem leaving him little option other than to retire.

Later in the afternoon, he was out in the Motorsport Merchandise Formula 1 Classic TT race on board the Collins & Russell ZXR750 Kawasaki. Having lapped at over 116mph in practice, he was hopeful of building on that in the race but a first lap speed of 114.539mph showed all wasn't well and with the engine running lean, he stopped on the second lap, ironically at Ballacraine once more.

Dan leads Michael Rutter at Kates Cottage

To cap a disappointing week, he was also out of luck in Saturday's 500cc Classic TT where he was on the 500cc four-valve Manx Norton and after finishing second in the corresponding race last year, hopes were high for another good result. Things were heading that way with Dan's opening lap of 106.106mph placing him in a strong fifth but second time around the petrol tank split causing him to retire along the Cronk y Voddy straight.

Speaking on Monday evening Dan said, "It's disappointing not to have finished a race and especially disappointing not to have finished the 350cc race as everything was going so well. I was having a great battle with Michael and there was nothing between us and it was going to be a great final lap for sure. The little bike was flying but towards the end of the second lap, I could feel a bit of fuel leaking onto me and it got worse so I had to stop."

"I've had podiums in the Classic races in the past but to get a win would have been brilliant but it wasn't meant to be this year. I obviously had a good run at the TT winning the Privateer's Championship but Classic racing is a lot different and we've experienced small issues that have prevented us from getting to the finish. It's no-one's fault and just the way racing goes sometimes so we'll be back next year to give it another go."

Dan's next outing will see him make his debut at Oliver's Mount, Scarborough for the International Gold Cup meeting, the event taking place on 12/13 September.

Picture by Stephen Davison – Pacemaker Press International