With three wins from five starts in the glamour MX1 class, the Suzuki crew certainly signalled their winning intentions at the big annual Whakatane Summercross on Monday.
The annual two-day post-Christmas Honda-sponsored event was the first time the two parallel factory-backed Suzuki teams were competing alongside one another and, between them, they sent a clear message to their rivals as the season begins to heat up.
Mount Maunganui’s national MX1 champion Cody Cooper (Honda Racing Team CRF450) won the first two MX1 class races of the day, but then Taupo’s Brad Groombridge (MC2 Racing Suzuki RM-Z450) chimed in to win race three, while Mount Maunganui’s Rhys Carter (3Twenty3 Racing Suzuki RM-Z450) won the last two races of the day.
Unfortunately for the Suzuki men, it wasn’t quite enough for either of them to win the day overall, Cooper doing just enough to take the trophy by two points from Carter, with Groombridge settling for fourth overall, behind Motueka’s former Grand Prix star Josh Coppins (Altherm JCR Yamaha YZ450F).
“While we didn’t manage to win the day overall, we did show that we have the potential and capability to win.”
Carter won the MX1 class at Summercross last season and so was naturally disappointed to miss out on winning the MX1 class by such a slender margin this time around.
“I lost out on winning here on a count-back in 2013 after a last-corner crash and it was a similar story this year,” lamented Carter. “I thought I had the win in the bag in race two today, but then I dropped the bike in the final corner. I picked myself up to salvage third, but those lost points were what cost me in the end.
“Cody and I collided early in the last race and it was his turn to go down.
“It’s a good thing I think when you see Cody (Cooper) being so aggressive towards me. Perhaps it means I had him worried. Roll on the Woodville Motocross Grand Prix (at the end of January) and the motocross nationals (starting in February).”
Also impressive for the MC2 Racing Suzuki Team was Te Puke’s Kyan Loomans, who took his new Suzuki RM85 to finish third overall in the junior 8-11 years’ 85cc class, the 10-year-old finishing behind Tauranga’s Madoc Dixon and Palmerston North’s Seth Henson.
“This was my first ride on the new Suzuki and I loved it,” said Loomans. “This is my best result at Summercross as a junior and I’m now really looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Other class winners at Summercross were Hamilton’s Josiah Natzke (MX2 class, KTM); Cambridge’s Trent Collins (junior 12-17 years 250cc class and Youth MX class, Honda); Tauranga’s Jessie Waterhouse (women’s class, Yamaha); Motueka’s Josh Coppins (veterans 35-44 years, Yamaha); Hamilton’s Darryll King (veterans over-45 years, Yamaha); Taupo’s Wyatt Chase (junior 16-17 years 125cc, Yamaha); Mangakino’s Maximus Purvis (junior 12-15 years 125cc, KTM); Okato’s Zak Hetherington (junior 14-16 years 85cc, TM); Matamata’s Brodie Connolly (junior 12-13 years 85cc, KTM); Hamilton’s Nick Westgate (pro 65cc class, KTM).
© Words and photos by Andy & Bridget McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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