Richard Cooper in North West 200 return on Ryan Farquhar-prepared J McC Roofing Kawasaki

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Richard Cooper in North West 200 return on Ryan Farquhar-prepared J McC Roofing Kawasaki

Cooper was the top newcomer at the north coast road race in 2019, when he clinched an impressive runner-up finish in tricky conditions in the Saturday Superstock race behind maiden winner James Hillier.

The 39-year-old will link up with Northern Ireland team J McC Roofing to ride a Ryan Farquhar-prepared Kawasaki and is also set to ride Buildbase Suzuki GSX-R1000 machinery in the Superbike and Superstock races.

Cooper made his debut at Kirkistown in Co Down on Easter Monday, where he rode the J McC Roofing Kawasaki for the first time, securing the runner-up spot in the first race by less than a second from Adam McLean on the McAdoo Kawasaki.

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Richard Cooper on the J McC Roofing Kawasaki Supertwin at Kirkistown on Easter Monday. Picture: Derek Wilson.

He was forced to retire at the start of the second race with a machine issue, but nonetheless it was an impressive performance by the English rider, who was riding a Supertwin machine for the very first time.

“I had wanted to come over and have a test session on the bike but it was straight into a race and I had to learn the bike and the track in 12 minutes,” Cooper said.

“We had made changes from the first race which I think would have worked but it was still a valuable trip.

“I would love another opportunity to come over and test it again before the North West but I can’t see it being possible.

“I knew that unless I was on a bike that was built by someone like Ryan Farquhar it would be difficult to be competitive so I didn’t bother with the class before,” added the Nottingham man, who sat out almost two years of British championship racing after suffering a badly broken right leg at the beginning of the 2020 season.

“When Jeremy McWilliams chose to ride the Paton it opened the door for me and it didn’t take me too long to make my decision.”

American Patricia Fernandez also wants to compete for the J McC Roofing team on Kawasaki machines at the North West in the Superbike, Supersport and Superstock classes.

The Oklahoma woman is the world’s fastest female road racer following a 121mph lap at the 2018 Ulster Grand Prix.