If suffering adversity breeds strong character, then New Zealand’s Josh Coppins must be a very tough character indeed.
Despite an Australian Motocross Championships campaign fraught with difficulties from the beginning – he was only seventh overall after the first round of nine in the series – the man from Motueka had clawed his way back to the top of the standings by the time the riders were lining up at Coolum for the final round on Sunday.
Coppins (CDR Rockstar Yamaha YZ450F) started the weekend with a solid 18-points advantage over his team-mate, defending champion Jay Marmont, and looked like he’d push on to win the championship after the two men had shared the 1-2 spots in the opening two of four races on Sunday.
But then it all came unglued for the Kiwi hero when he was involved in a turn-one crash in the series’ penultimate race, the third of the day at Coolum.
When rival Dean Ferris (Monster Energy Kawasaki) crashed in front of him, Coppins had nowhere to go and he too went down, dislocating his shoulder in the process. Coppins was out for the race and did not line up for the fourth and final moto either, handing the championship to Marmont, who won both the final motos.
Marmont’s win meant he managed to do what no other rider in the history of the sport had done, by winning a fourth consecutive senior motocross championship.
Coppins had accumulated enough points before his season-ending crash to hold on to second spot in the championship, making it a CDR Rockstar Yamaha 1-2 for the class.
“I have torn the Librium which means surgery and a few months out,” said Coppins.
“I did have plans to head overseas and race after this weekend but they have been put on hold now, I will come back for another go next year I guess. It’s a bit frustrating but that is motocross as we all know the highs are high and the lows are low and, yeah, that is just the way it goes.”
It was a similarly tragic story for Coppins in the 2007 Motocross World Championships season when a small stone lodged in his rear brakes and caused his to crash and break his shoulder. He has enjoyed a massive 107-points advantage at the top of the standings, with just five of the 15 rounds to go, but, sidelined from that stage on, had to watch helplessly as Belgium’s Steve Ramon instead won the MX1 world crown.
Coppins again demonstrated his trademark toughness and determination to fight his way back from a seemingly impossible position in Australia this year but he will have to carry the No.2 panel on his bike in Australia next year.
Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Billy Mackenzie, of Scotland, finished third overall in the Australian nationals, with his team-mate Ferris in fourth position.
It was a sad end for Ferris too because he had led the championship for most of the season.
Honda’s Cheyne Boyd rounded out the top five.
Rotorua’s Michael Phillips (Honda) had another solid day at Coolum, finishing the event eighth overall, and he settled for sixth overall in the championship.
Mount Maunganui’s Cody Cooper (Suzuki), the New Zealand MX1 champion, won six out of 36 races in the open class this season but it wasn’t enough to position himself any better than eight overall in the championship.
A huge crash at round two put him out of action for that event and the next round too, effectively wrecking his Australian campaign.
In the Pro Lites (250cc) class, it was a case of ‘catch me if you can’ for KTM’s Matt Moss. With a massive points lead established earlier in the series, he could afford to ride conservatively over the final two rounds.
Yamaha’s Kirk Gibbs came on strong over those final two rounds but he still came up 10 points short of overtaking Moss.
Meanwhile, Christchurch’s Justin McDonald (Honda) finished sixth overall at Coolum on Sunday, enough to see him finish the year eighth overall in the Pro Lites championship.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
ROCKSTAR PRO OPEN RESULTS – COOLUM
1 Jay Marmont 97 Points (2011 Champion)
2 Billy Mackenzie 77 Points
3 Todd Waters 64 Points
4 Lawson Bopping 64 Points
5 Cody Cooper 54 Points
6 Jamie Law 53 Points
7 Michael Addison 52 Points
8 Michael Phillips 50 Points
9 Josh Coppins 47 Points
10 Beau Ralston 44 Points
ROCKSTAR PRO OPEN FINAL 2011 CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
1 Jay Marmont 682 Points
2 Josh Coppins 650 Points
3 Billy Mackenzie 636 Points
4 Dean Ferris 601 Points
5 Cheyne Boyd 537 Points
6 Michael Phillips 510 Points
7 Lawson Bopping 497 Points
8 Cody Cooper 449 Points
9 Louis Calvin 340 Points
10 Beau Ralston 246 Points
MOTUL PRO LITES RESULTS – COOLUM
1 Kirk Gibbs 94 Points
2 Kade Mosig 89 Points
3 Matt Moss 71 Points (2011 Champion)
4 Phil Nicoletti 67 Points
5 Luke Styke 65 Points
6 Justin McDonald 61 Points
7 Josh Cachia 57 Points
8 Daniel McCoy 57 Points
9 Brenden Harrison 55 Points
10 Keiron Hall 36 Points
MOTUL PRO LITES FINAL 2011 CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
1 Matt Moss 638 Points
2 Kirk Gibbs 628 Points
3 Phil Nicoletti 544 Points
4 Brenden Harrison 533 Points
5 Kade Mosig 529 Points
6 Daniel McCoy 518 Points
7 Josh Cachia 480 Points
8 Justin McDonald 464 Points
9 Cody Mackie 454 Points
10 Luke Styke 437 Points
PIRELLI UNDER 19’s RESULTS – COOLUM
1 Shaun Redhead 79 Points
2 Jake Emanuelli 72 Points
3 Luke Arbon 69 Points
4 Jacob Wright 68 Points
5 Errol Willis 63 Points (2011 Champion)
6 Sam Martin 54 Points
7 Dan Banks 54 Points
8 Jay Wilson 53 Points
9 Luke Reardon 43 Points
10 Dylan Peterson 41 Points
PIRELLI UNDER 19’s FINAL 2011 CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
1 Errol Willis 719 Points
2 Luke Arbon 619 Points
3 Shaun Redhead 545 Points
4 Dylan Peterson 466 Points
5 Jake Emanuelli 452 Points
6 Jay Wilson 438 Points
7 Kyle McKeddie 401 Points
8 Sam Martin 359 Points
9 Kale Makeham 311 Points
10 Dylan Long 306 Points