It’s first blood to the South Island’s Josh Coppins after the opening round of this season’s New Zealand Motocross Championships near Timaru on Sunday.
The Yamaha rider from Motueka threw down the gauntlet in the MX1 class, scoring 2-1-1 results on his way to building a three-point lead over Rotorua Honda rider Michael Phillips as the Demon Energy-sponsored series heads back across Cook Strait for the three remaining rounds in the North Island – at Patetonga, near Morrinsville, in just a weeks’ time, at Rotorua on March 20 and in New Plymouth on March 27.
“It’s just a pity I couldn’t win all three races today,” said the 33-year-old Coppins afterwards. “I actually tweaked my knee in race one, so that cost me some speed. It’s good to have the series lead and it’s just a matter now of me riding smart through the rest of the series.”
Third overall in the MX1 class was Mount Maunganui’s Cody Cooper (Power Balance MotoGB BikesportNZ.com Suzuki), just 11 points behind Phillips, with defending champion Justin McDonald (Timaru Honda), of Christchurch, in fourth spot overall, just two points behind Cooper.
The MX2 class was also fiercely-fought with Australian visitor Cody Mackie (Timaru Honda) emerging as the points leader after this opening phase of action, with fellow Australian Daniel McCoy (Power Balance MotoGB BikesportNZ.com Suzuki) keeping him honest and finishing the day just eight points behind. Third overall was 42-year-old Kiwi veteran Darryll King (MXDK Rockstar Yamaha).
Meanwhile, Waitakere’s Ethan Martens (MXDK Rockstar Yamaha) topped the 125cc class standings, just ahead of fellow Aucklander Shaun Fogarty (CMR Race Team KTM).
The 125cc class is a battle-within-a-battle for under-21 age group honours too, with Martens leading that championship also, finishing the day with a 12-point advantage over Tauranga’s Scott Barr-Smith (Team JS Racing KTM).
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
Full story and more photos in your next issue of KIWI RIDER magazine.