Three wins from three starts … it doesn’t get any more comprehensive than that.
If there was ever any room to question the veracity of the big, bold No.1 emblazoned across the front and sides of Cody Cooper’s Suzuki RM-Z450 bike, the Mount Maunganui man left no room for question or doubt when he finished the day unbeaten at the annual Auckland Motocross Championships on Sunday.
Not only did national champion Cooper win all three MX1 (open class) races at the Pukekohe track, but the strength of his dominance was truly impressive, surely sounding alarm bells for his rivals as the motocross season gets more serious in the coming months.
The national MX1 champion will now build on his performance at Pukekohe as he works towards winning the annual Whakatane Summercross just after Christmas, the annual Woodville Motocross at the end of January and then, hopefully, a successful national title defence, beginning with the first of four rounds in South Canterbury in February.
“I’m two weeks into my hard training now,” said the 28-year-old.
“I’m pretty determined at the moment and looking forward to the start of the national championships. I want to win every race I enter, give it 100% and be the best that I can.
“And, not only do I want to retain the No.1 plate in New Zealand, but I want to gain the No.1 plate in Australia as well in 2012.
Riding for the Mount Maunganui-based Moto City Suzuki team for the New Zealand phase of his campaign and for the Rockstar Motul Suzuki team in Australia, Cooper knows he has all the support necessary to achieve his goals.
“The bike was great. The guys at Moto City set it up perfectly for me. It handles great and has awesome power.”
However, fabulous support or not, Cooper also knows he’ll need to be at his best throughout the coming summer months to fend of the challenges from the same man who chased him all day at Pukekohe, Hamilton’s Hayden Clark (CMR Red Bull KTM), as well as fellow Kiwi internationals Josh Coppins (MXDK Rockstar Yamaha), of Motueka, fellow Bay of Plenty riders Ben Townley (Carlton Dry Honda), Michael Phillips (Honda) and Mason Phillips (Kawasaki)(no relation), Christchurch’s Justin McDonald (Honda) and Taupo’s Nick Saunders (Kawasaki), to name a few.
Clark rode his 350cc KTM to three runner-up finishes in the MX1 class at Pukekohe.
“It was good to follow Cody … I learned a lot from that,” said the 21-year-old Clark.
“I got closer to him in each race. I rode a stock standard bike too, straight off the showroom floor, so by the time the nationals kick off I’ll be better set up and expect to show a lot more speed.”
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com