It’s a long road from Bacchus Marsh to Europe – one Chandler Cooper has travelled on two wheels.
Cooper, 18, has just returned from Europe where he competes in the Moto 2 classification after several years in the junior world championship circuit.
It was in Bacchus Marsh and Melton that he first fell in love with motorcycles and competing on them.
“I started racing as a kid on a peewee, racing at the Bacchus Marsh Motocross track,” he said.
“My dad encouraged me, as he rode in his early days. The speed and adrenaline is what really grabbed me in the early days – and the jumps were exciting.
“After the first year of competing in Moto 3, I began to realise that I had speed and perhaps I could make a career out of doing something that I enjoy so much.”
Cooper was born in Bacchus Marsh and lived there for his early childhood before moving to Williamstown. He attended school in Melton and now lives in Strathtulloh with his family when he is not competing in Europe.
He said competing against the best riders of his age group in the world had its challenges, but he was enjoying it.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “Competition-wise, it is so flowing and fast … the friendships you develop with the team around you and fellow riders has been great. This year I changed to Moto 2, which was a bit challenging to adjust to, especially the amount of focus and involvement towards the bike set-up, which is much more important than you would expect.
“I’ve approached it quite well this year … while I am Australia I will be doing a lot of training and practice days on local tracks to work on my form.”
Cooper said former Australian champion Casey Stoner had been a big influence, while he hoped to join the likes of motorcycle legend Valentino Rossi on the world stage next year.
“I’ve got my fingers crossed for the world championship next year,” he said.