Record-breaking motorcycle racer Freddie Cooper died last month at the age of 84. His son told reporter MICHAEL PURTON about his father’s legendary life.

FREDDIE Cooper’s life revolved around motorsport, so it was a fitting tribute to take him on a lap of honour around racetrack Brands Hatch on the way to his funeral.

A hearse drove Freddie around the circuit while his family and friends looked on, their eyes brimming with tears and their minds brimming with memories of his many achievements on the tarmac.

Among those paying their respects to Freddie was his son 47-year-old Stuart, himself a motorsport fanatic and a regular competitor in sidecar races.

He said: “My dad was a cornerstone of the motorcycle racing community, and began his career competing at Brands Hatch in the 1950s, racing against famous names such as John Surtees.

“He lived in Woolwich at the time and used to ride to Brands Hatch on his bike and race all day, hoping not to damage it as he had to ride it back home again.

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

This Is Local London: Freddie during his racing years

Freddie grew up in Woolwich and was a factory engineer during the Second World War, going on to serve in Egypt post-war, where his motorcycle tricks would entertain fellow soldiers.

He spent 45 years happily married to his wife Julie, having two children, Stuart and his sister Shirley, 55, and then retiring to Southfield Shaw in Meopham in the mid 80s.

Stuart, from Essex, says his father was just as proud of his wife, children and four grandchildren as he was his motorsport successes.

He says his father’s proudest motorcycle achievement took place at the RAF base in Greenham Common in 1972, when he was the first person to officially exceed 200mph in the UK.

Freddie wrote his name in the record books at the base in West Berkshire riding a twin engine supercharged Triumph Cyclotron, which he had built with his older brother Jack.

This Is Local London: The twin engine supercharged Triumph Cyclotron Freddie rode to more than 200mph

But Freddie was equally proud of the motorcycle mechanic shop FJ Cooper Motorcycles he established in Greenwich in 1961, which closed when he retired.

He was so renowned for his mechanic skills that in the mid 60s magazine Motorcycle News challenged him to build a race bike for under £100.

Of course Freddie rose to the challenge, creating the bike and seeing journalist Robin Miller compete on it in the Isle of Man TT race.

Freddie’s knowhow also brought him to the attention of Formula One mogul Bernie Ecclestone in the 1970s, who asked him to help build engines for the Brabham team cars.

Stuart says it was this passion for motorsport and family and friends that made Freddie’s life such an exciting one.

He said: “He had an amazing life, and he will be sadly missed by all of those who had the pleasure of knowing and working with him.”