Mount Maunganui’s Cody Cooper again won the big annual Labour Weekend Motocross Extravaganza in Taupo on Sunday and that came as a surprise to absolutely nobody.
Cooper is, afterall, the man who won this popular annual event last season and he is also the reigning New Zealand MX1 Champion.
His undoubted talents were also recognised just over a month ago by the Suzuki factory team in Europe when they drafted the Kiwi in to replace their injured world championship superstar Clement Desalle, of Belgium.
But the comprehensive manner of Cooper’s victory at Taupo’s Digger McEwen Motocross Park on Sunday did raise a few eyebrows nonetheless.
“I just felt really good today,” said the 28-year-old Cooper in classic understatement.
He was unbeaten in his MX1 class outings and also ran away with the coveted Nicky Smith Memorial feature race.
“It was a good way to start the season for Team Suzuki.”
Cooper was simply beaming about his new 2012-model Suzuki RM-Z450.
“The new bike is awesome … so much power. I holeshot every race. It is just so grunty. I’ll be doing lots of riding now to warm up for the motocross nationals and then will step up my training even more before the Summercross (at Whakatane) just after Christmas and then the supercross champs and motocross champs (at the start of next year).”
It could easily have been a Suzuki 1-2 in the feature final too as Cooper’s team-mate, fellow Bay of Plenty rider Rhys Carter, also ran near the front for much of the all-in feature race on his Suzuki RM-Z250, eventually settling for third place behind national MX2 champion Darryll King (MXDK Rockstar Yamaha), of Hamilton.
Carter also finished overall first-equal – level with King – in the separate battle for MX2 class honours but was forced to accept runner-up spot on the count-back rule.
“I’m pretty happy with today, especially considering I was sick with the flu all week,” said the 22-year-old Carter afterwards.
“I know I’ve got the speed to win this year and I’ll be fitter and stronger by the time I race the nationals (in February).”
The ironman 42-year-old King also won the veterans’ 35-44 years’ class.
It was a great weekend all around for Bay of Plenty riders, with Nick Saunders, Brad Groombridge, Kayne Lamont, Cam Dillon, Cameron Vaughan, Hadleigh Knight, Dion Picard and Cohen Chase also among those to impress.
Also outstanding were Courtney Duncan, a luckless Hayden Clark (pictured above crashing behind Saunders in the sawdust section), Ethan Martens, Matt Hunt, Micah McGoldrick, Jason Jones, Darren Capill, Daniel Scrimgeour, Jason Bull, Rod Tomblin, Jacob Kneebone, Chase Smith, Aaron Wiltshire and Josiah Natzke, to name just a few.
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
Full story and more photos in your next issue of KIWI RIDER magazine.
Leading results from the 2011 Taupo Labour Weekend Motocross Extravaganza:
SENIORS AND VETS:
Nicky Smith Memorial feature race:
1. Cody Cooper (Mount Maunganui, Suzuki RM-Z450);
2. Darryll King (Hamilton Yamaha YZ250);
3. Rhys Carter (Mount Maunganui, Suzuki RM-Z250);
4. Cam Dillon (Taupo, Honda CRF250)
5. Brad Groombridge (Taupo, Honda CRF450)
1. Cody Cooper (Mount Maunganui, Suzuki) 75;
2. Nick Saunders (Taupo, Kawasaki) 54;
3. Brad Groombridge (Taupo, Honda) 53.
1. Darryll King (Hamilton, Yamaha) 67;
2. Rhys Carter (Mount Maunganui, Suzuki) 67;
3. Cam Dillon (Taupo, Honda) 54.
National 125cc class:
1. Micah McGoldrick (Rangiora, KTM) 60 points;
2. Jason Jones (Northcross, Yamaha) 46;
3. Cameron Vaughan (Rotorua, Yamaha) 44.
Vets 35-44 years:
1. Darryll King (Hamilton, Yamaha) 75;
2. Darren Capill (Whakatane, Honda) 64;
3. Daniel Scrimgeour (Taupo, Yamaha) 57.
Vets over-45 years:
1. Jason Bull (Taupo, Suzuki) 65;
2. Rob Tomblin (Taupo, Honda) 64;
3. Ray Drake (Rotorua, KTM) 62.
JUNIORS AND WOMEN:
14-16 years’ 250cc class:
1. Dion Picard (Atiamuri, Suzuki) 75 points;
2. Micah McGoldrick (Rangiora, KTM) 64;
3. Jacob Kneebone (Matamata, Yamaha) 60.
15-16 years’ 125cc class:
1. Cameron Vaughan (Rotorua, Yamaha) 75;
2. Hadleigh Knight (Atiamuri, KTM) 66;
3. Chase Smith (Auckland, KTM) 56.
12-14 years’ 125cc class:
1. Aaron Wiltshire (Tauranga, KTM) 72;
2. Josiah Natzke (Hamilton, Yamaha) 69;
3. Matt Kenyon 58 (Tauranga, Yamaha).
14-16 years’ 85/150cc class:
1. Courtney Duncan (Otago, Yamaha) 75;
2. Nathan Sharland (Rotorua, KTM) 60;
3. Cameron Forlong (Tauranga, Suzuki) 59.
12-13 85/150cc class:
1. Josiah Natzke (Hamilton, Yamaha) 75;
2. Cohen Chase (Taupo, Yamaha) 66;
3. Cameron Blackie (Auckland, KTM) 58.
8-11 years’ 85cc class:
1. Maximus Purvis (Mangakino, Honda) 75;
2. Trent Liddle-Collins (Cambridge, KTM) 64;
3. Adam Moss (Wellington, Kawasaki) 62.
1. Courtney Duncan (Otago, Yamaha) 75;
2. Emma Davis (Taupo, Honda) 64;
3. Alex Dillon (Taupo, Honda) 57.