You have to buy a ticket if you expect to win the lottery.
New Zealand sends its three-man team to the Motocross of Nations in Italy this weekend hoping it will be less of a lottery and more of a sure bet that they will be on the podium by the end of this year’s edition of the “Olympic Games of Motocross”.
A record-breaking entry list of 36 teams have signed up to battle for the Chamberlain Trophy at Franciacorta, northern Italy, this Saturday and Sunday and the Kiwis have a good chance of featuring.
This year’s Motocross of Nations will see a total of 108 riders line up to race, something that has never happened in the previous 62 editions of this most important motocross event in the world.
Team USA will be keen to extend its streak to five consecutive wins, although the host country, Team Italia — which includes newly-crowned MX1 world champion Tony Cairoli and 2008 MX1 world champion David Philippaerts — also rates as one of the favourites.
New Zealand, too, should not be underestimated.
“We have been on a podium three times before at this great event,” said Motorcycling New Zealand motocross commissioner and MXoN team manager Mike McLeod, of Wellington. “I know we can do it again.”
The New Zealand team riders this year are MX1 world championship stalwart Josh Coppins (Yamaha), from Motueka, with Queenstown’s Scotty Columb (Suzuki) and Rotorua’s Michael Phillips (Honda) as his wing-men.
Coppins rode in the team when the Kiwis finished third at the MXoN in England in 1988, again in Belgium in 2001 and on the third and most recent occasion that Team New Zealand finished third, in England in 2006.
Words and photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com