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Final lap for bike racing legend

PUBLISHED: 13:26 03 February 2010 | UPDATED: 11:26 23 August 2010

A MOTORCYCLING star and world record holder had a final farewell around the track he called home. Freddie Cooper, 84, of Meopham, who started his racing career at Brands Hatch in the late 50s, had one final lap in his funeral cortege last Friday. Mr

A MOTORCYCLING star and world record holder had a final farewell around the track he called home.

Freddie Cooper, 84, of Meopham, who started his racing career at Brands Hatch in the late '50s, had one final lap in his funeral cortege last Friday.

Mr Cooper worked as a motorcycle mechanic and then in the early '60s opened his own motorcycle shop.

He specialised in Triumphs and soon made a name for himself when Motorcycle News, the racing paper of the day, asked him to build a race bike for under £100 to compete in the Isle of Man TT.

However his greatest achievement was becoming the first official person to exceed 200mph on his twin engine supercharged Triumph "Cyclotron" which he built himself along with his brother Jack Cooper in 1972.

This placed him into the Guinness Book of World Records after smashing the 200mph barrier.

Stuart Cooper, his son, said: "Fred used to ride to Brands Hatch on his bike and race all day, hoping not to drop it as he had to ride his bike home again!

"One time at the circuit he even loaned a part from his motorcycle engine to Stirling Moss and Stirling lent him his crash helmet in return.

"Fred's likeability, friendliness, his extreme knowledge and talent will be sadly missed by all of those who had the pleasure of knowing and working with him."

In the '70s he was approached by F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone to help build his Brabham Formula 1 engines.

The veteran continued working balancing cranks and overhauling magnetos until the middle of 2009 when unfortunately his illness then took hold and prevented him from continuing.

Cooper's main racing success came in the 1960s, when he fought against George Brown and Alfie Hagon on a 500cc supercharged Hermes Triumph sprinter.

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