The battle lines have been drawn and now it’s all about the points leaders bracing themselves for an inevitable backlash.
This season’s Demon Energy New Zealand Motocross Championships kicked off near Timaru last weekend and valuable points have been stowed away.
Now the riders and their teams have travelled north to set up base at Patetonga, the Thames Valley venue for round two this weekend, just outside Morrinsville.
Motueka’s Josh Coppins (Yamaha) leads the glamour MX1 class, but only by a narrow three-point margin from Rotorua Honda man Michael Phillips, with Mount Maunganui’s Cody Cooper (Suzuki), Christchurch’s Justin McDonald (Honda) and Auckland’s Shaun Fogarty (KTM) also not far behind.
By Sunday afternoon, the series will already be halfway through, so solid performances are needed by all the title hopefuls.
“I tweaked my knee in race one (at Timaru) but still managed to score the points I needed,” said former MX1 world No.2 Coppins.
“I think Mike (Phillips) and I are currently at a level above the others but that doesn’t mean we can take things easy at all.
“Because I have mostly been in Europe these past 15 years, the last time I raced at Patetonga was in about 1996. I know I’ve got the pace to win. I just have to ride smart.”
Two Australian visitors rule in the MX2 (250cc) class – Honda’s Cody Mackie and Suzuki’s Daniel McCoy respectively first and second – but they should be aware that third-ranked man after round one, Hamilton’s Darryll King (Yamaha) is very fast indeed at the Patetonga track.
The 125cc class action should continue to be a heated battle between Waitakere’s Ethan Martens (Yamaha) and dual-class man Fogarty, although there is a stream of very fast riders giving chase, including Atiamuri’s Dion Picard (Suzuki), Kaukapakapa’s Josh Jack (Suzuki) and Wanganui’s Tom Managh (Suzuki).
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com