Kiwi international Josh Coppins is primed and ready to blast off on the new phase of his racing career.
The former GP star collected his new 2011-model Yamaha YZ450F at the weekend and had his first training session on board the bike at his Motueka home track this week.
The 33-year-old factory racer, who retired from the World Motocross Championship scene at the end of this season, after 15 years based in Europe, has returned home to begin a new phase of his racing career.
Starting at Tokoroa’s opening round of the New Zealand Supercross Championships on December 11, and then on into the 2011 season, Coppins will rekindle his career in Australasia, the same corner of the world where he honed his craft before heading off to Europe fulltime in 1995.
He will race this coming season for the CDR Rockstar Yamaha team when in Australia and the MXDK Rockstar Yamaha Team while in New Zealand.
“I have had a few weeks off and not ridden since (leading Team New Zealand to eighth overall at) the Motocross of Nations in Denver, Colorado, in September,” said the former world No.2.
“I’ve had enough time off and now it’s time to go racing again. I was really comfortable on the bike the first time out,” said Coppins, who came within an ace of winning the world MX1 title for Yamaha when he raced for the factory in 2007.
“It feels great to be back on a bike and, although it’s not a factory bike, the production motorcycles these days are so advanced, it may as well be. I have always been impressed with the professionalism of Yamaha and what they can produce.
“I just need to do a little fine tuning now, then get my head down and get the job done racing in Australia and New Zealand.
“Because I’ve been racing GPs for so long, I need to modify my approach. I don’t need to hold anything in reserve for 40-minute races … it’s all about sprinting now, with races in New Zealand and Australia only about half that duration.
“That’s why I will race at Tokoroa first. Supercross is definitely all about sprinting. I didn’t want to show up at the Whakatane Summercross (December 28) or the Woodville Motocross (January 30) and not be at all prepared.”
Coppins will join national 125cc champion Damien King, of Cambridge, and national under-21 champion Ethan Martens, of Waitakere, in the MXDK Rockstar Yamaha enclosure at those key New Zealand events.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com