It’s back to work this weekend for the Kiwis racing motocross across the Tasman as they head to Murray Bridge, South Australia, for round four of the Australian Motocross Championships.
Motueka’s Josh Coppins (CDR Rockstar Yamaha) leads the open class in Australia and Rotorua’s Michael Phillips (Carlton Dry Honda Thor Racing Team) (pictured above) is also among the lead riders, currently eighth in the standings after three rounds.
Mount Maunganui’s Cody Cooper (Rockstar Motul Suzuki) is expected back in action this weekend, hopefully well mended after his big crash at round two.
Unable to race at round three, he finds himself down in 13th spot overall but he is determined to recover his position and move back up the rankings.
Meanwhile, another Kiwi, Christchurch’s Justin McDonald (Honda), is 11th in the Lites (MX2) standings.
Phillips has been hard at work back at home — riding, testing and training to ensure he is in peak form for this weekend’s event.
“I have been doing a lot of testing with Honda NZ and the past two weeks I have been riding on sandy tracks to make sure I am prepared for the Murray Bridge track.
“While the team in Australia has been testing I have also been working with the guys back home and we will come together tomorrow to combine the feedback and results,” he added.
Last time out at Murray Bridge it was Victorian Cheyne Boyd who was victorious in the premier Pro Open category ahead of triple defending champion Jay Marmont, the pair at that time team-mates at CDR Rockstar Yamaha.
Now, Boyd, with Phillips as his new team-mate this year, currently sits fourth in the 2011 standings. He’s confident that he can regain the race-winning form that he enjoyed at Murray Bridge back in ’09.
“Murray Bridge’s softer soil is the type that suits my riding style and it definitely boosts my confidence heading back to South Australia,” the 29-year-old explained.
“I had good results in both 2008 and 2009 at the circuit, but for sure with four shorter motos this season my main focus in the lead-up has been practicing starts.”
Coppins currently enjoys a nine-point advantage in the series after winning rounds two and three, while 20-year-old Aussie rising star Dean Ferris (Monster Energy Kawasaki) sits in second spot, 20 points ahead of third-ranked Marmont.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com