Motueka’s Josh Coppins is edging closer and closer to the main prize.
After another solid performance at the third round of four in this season’s New Zealand Supercross Championships near his home town of Motueka on Sunday, the Yamaha star heads to the fourth and final round at Timaru this Saturday with his sights set on winning his first national supercross title since the year 2000.
It has been a long time between drinks for Coppins in New Zealand, but there is a very good reason for that.
International commitments have prevented Coppins from racing more than the occasional one-off race at home over the past decade or so.
But now that he’s packed up his bags and headed home after a 15-year stint racing at the highest level in Europe, he’s ready to start collecting domestic titles again.
After three of four rounds in the national series, the MXDK Rockstar Yamaha rider is 10 points clear of Christchurch’s Justin McDonald (Honda) and 26 points ahead of Mount Maunganui’s Cody Cooper (Suzuki) at the top of the open class standings and another solid performance at the final round near Timaru this Saturday afternoon should see the silverware safely tucked away.
But Coppins is well aware just how fickle and treacherous this sport can be. He only has to look back to the 2007 motocross world championship season when he was 107 points clear on top of the standings with five rounds to go — more than two GPs up his sleeve — when disaster struck and he crashed and ended that fateful season in Europe ranked a disappointing third.
Coppins is pragmatic about the task ahead this Saturday afternoon.
“It was pretty tough in Motueka (on Sunday). I was hoping to get the win but just wasn’t good enough. But I’m still leading the championship and will try to close it out this weekend.”
He already has the North Island Supercross title in his pocket with the first two rounds of the series – in Tokoroa and Taupo – counting for that. But winning the national title is really what matters to the Kiwi former world No.2.
“That’s what I’m being paid to do … win New Zealand titles,” he said matter-of-factly.
Fellow South Islander, Craig Smith (Honda), of Christchurch, looks well in command of the Senior Lites (250cc) class, 31 points ahead of Tauranga’s Peter Broxholme (Honda), while Atiamuri’s Dion Picard (Suzuki) leads the Junior 250cc class by 14 points from Rangiora’s Micah McGoldrick (KTM).
Meanwhile, it looks like Hamilton’s Josiah Natzke (Yamaha) is well on his way to winning the Junior Lites (85cc) title after another stunning display of riding by the 12-year-old at Motueka.
Though only his first visit to the Motueka track, Natzke was unbeatable, scorching to a hat-trick of wins on Sunday and extending his championship lead in the class to a whopping 29 points over Pahiatua Kawasaki rider Scott Sowry.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com