Sweden wasn’t kind to Kiwi MX1 world championship contender Josh Coppins, but it’s Belgium this weekend and fingers are crossed for a much better outcome.
The man from Motueka managed sixth and seventh in his two outings at the Swedish GP at Uddevalla four weeks ago, a result that on a different day could have seen him claim a podium spot.
In the end, it was only good enough only for seventh overall for the day in Sweden, and it also saw the factory Yamaha rider slide from fourth to fifth in the championship standings.
This weekend the final phase of the FIM Motocross World Championship begins — with the Belgian GP at the sandy Lommel circuit — as the riders run down the final four GPs until the climax in Brazil in September.
Italian Antonio Cairoli (Yamaha) leads the MX1 championship with a handful of riders, including German Max Nagl (KTM) and Italian David Philippaerts (Yamaha), ready to eat into Cairoli’s advantage.
Honda’s Clement Desalle and Coppins are positioned fourth and fifth respectively, the New Zealander just two points behind the Belgian. Another Belgian rider, Suzuki’s Ken de Dycker, is hot on Coppins’ heels, just five points further adrift.
It’s fair to say, though, that Cairoli looks safe at the top, with a 53-point gap over runner-up Nagl, the rider who won the day in Sweden.
It will also be interesting to see if Kevin Strijbos, Jonathan Barragan, and Steve Ramon — each of them returning to the track at Lommel after recovering from injuries — will be influence proceedings this weekend.
Meanwhile, in MX2, Marvin Musquin (KTM) sits on top of the standings with a narrow 13-point advantage over fellow Frenchman Gautier Paulin (Kawasaki) while Swedish GP winner Rui Goncalves (KTM) rounds out the top three.
Lommel will also put an end to the FIM Veterans World Cup where Sweden’s Mats Nilsson holds the red plate with a strong lead.
The days preceding the Belgian Grand Prix will host also the MX Rookie, the motocross competition dedicated to amateur riders which was successfully started last year in Lommel.
Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com