RIDER NEWS: Copping reflects on first full season back in the saddle

A call up into a Great Britain “B” squad for a match at Le Fevre in 2017 prompted Norwich rider Steve Copping to return to racing on a regular basis in 2019.

Steve Copping in a Great Britain shirt at Le Fevre (photo taken by Paddy Wenn using Steve’s mobile phone)

Steve purchased a brand new Archie Wilkinson bike for his first full season since 2015. He collected the bike the day before his club Norwich visited Leicester for a challenge match which saw Norwich go down to a 69-111 defeat. Steve scored 6 of the Norwich points.

Steve’s next competitive action was on April 6th at the opening South-East Grand Prix at Ipswich where he was the only Over 40 rider in attendance so took the full 25 GP points. 3 weeks later the 2nd round took place at Kesgrave where he finished 2nd in the Over 40’s. 

In May Steve made his competitive debut at Hull (he had visited there for the opening day of the 2010 British Championships as well as the 2016 Home International) where he scored 11 points in the qualifying heats of the 2nd round of the Eurovets before finishing 2nd in the B Final of the Over 40’s and 4th in the B Final of the Over 35’s.

Into June and the Norwich round of the Eurovets saw Steve score 10 points in the qualifying heats, before repeating his Over 35’s result from Hull but winning the Over 40’s B Final. At Newport Steve scored 5 points in the qualifying heats before finishing 3rd in the Over 35’s B Final and repeating his win in the Over 40’s B Final from the Norwich round. The day after the Newport round Steve made his first ever visit to Hellingly for Norwich’s South-East Division 2 match which the Stars lost 73-85, Steve scoring 5 of those points. Steve was back on the road the following Saturday to Horspath to compete in the Peter “Chalky” White Memorial Trophy as part of Geoff Gamage’s 50th Anniversary meeting, scoring 11 points and cursing his final race where he would have had a run-off for 3rd if he had won that race.

July saw Steve put on an Ireland shirt once again in the Over 40’s Home International at Ipswich where he scored 4 points for Ireland who finished 4th. 

Photo taken by Chris Ward

Having missed the previous 3 rounds of the South-East Grand Prix Steve arrived at Hethersett for the 6th round in a tie for 2nd in the Over 40’s, needing a good result to keep up his chances of a top 3 place. He finished 2nd on the day which put him in a clear 2nd place overall and still with a mathematical chance of winning overall but it was not to be as Stean Jolly (Kesgrave) sealed the championship with victory in the penultimate round at Great Blakenham. Steve finished 3rd which confirmed him as runner-up. He is pictured below receiving his trophy at the Norwich club’s presentation evening as he was unable to attend the final round

(Photo taken by David Ewbank)

September saw Steve make his first ever visit to Fife for the 5th round of the Eurovets where he scored 12 points in the Over 35 & Over 40’s qualifying heats, not making the Over 35’s finals this time but finishing 4th in the Over 40’s B Final.

(Photos below taken by George Swanson)

In the Eurovets overall Steve finished 6th in the Over 40’s and 7th in the Over 35’s. Steve’s final outdoor appearance of 2019 was in the Over 40’s Club Championship at Leicester as part of the Norwich team which finished as runners-up to Leicester. Steve scored 4 of Norwich’s 36 points. 

Steve rounded off his first full season back in the saddle with his 2nd British Indoor Over 40’s Final appearance but couldn’t repeat his performance of 2015, managing only 5 points on this occasion. 

Steve is hoping that his GB appearance at Le Fevre in 2017 will lead to his ultimate target and the reason he returned to the saddle, namely a place in the official Great Britain Over 40’s squad for the 2020 series against Australia in November