The New Zealand Motocross Championships have reached the halfway stage with Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing Team riders all well placed to savour success when the series wraps up next month.
With two out of four rounds now complete – racing from Timaru and Rotorua now in the record books – Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing Team boss Josh Coppins says he is ready to have his men turn up the heat on their rivals.
Australian Dean Ferris is national MX1 champion at home and was desperately unlucky not to also clinch the national crown on this side of the Tasman Sea last season, eventually losing out to Mount Maunganui’s Copy Cooper by just two points, and he’s determined to turn that around this season.
Cooper (Honda Racing Team CRF450) finished 2-2-1 in the three MX1 races at Rotorua’s second round of four on Sunday, while Ferris posted a 1-5-3 score-card.
This meant that Ferris went from being just five points behind Cooper after the series opener near Timaru to now trail Cooper by 13 points.
“It’s not ideal, but Dean actually lost a lot more points than that at this Rotorua track last year and he still came very close to taking the title. You could say that this is a difficult track for Dean,” said Coppins.
“It was a slippery track and he struggled a bit today. He lost a few points today and will need to pull those back at the next two rounds.
“It’s all about Dean and the others putting their best feet forward.
“Dean has consistently been one of the fastest riders on the track, but it’s all about race management and not losing silly points.”
And, in a brutal sport such as motocross, the roll of the dice does not always favour the fastest riders … just ask Ferris, or better yet, have a chat to Mangakino’s Kayne Lamont.
Yamaha’s Lamont qualified his YZ450F fastest at the Rotorua circuit on Sunday morning and was typically the fastest out of the start gate at race time too.
But a succession of crashes cost Lamont dearly and he finished the day only seventh overall, the same position he now finds himself in the championship standings.
“There were flashes of brilliance from Kayne today and he had the potential to finish on the podium,” said Coppins. “But we need better finishes from him.”
In the MX2 (250cc) class, defending champion Hamish Harwood (CML KTM) also extended his championship lead as his main rival for the title this season, Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing Team rider Dylan Walsh, also came unstuck a few too many times on the unforgiving Rotorua track.
Walsh began the day 11 points adrift of Harwood, but ended it with a 20-point deficit and he now has Altherm JCR Yamaha team-mate Ethan Martens breathing down his neck.
With solid results on Sunday, Waitakere’s Martens has moved from fourth to third in the standings, now 16 points behind Walsh.
The series next heads to Palmerston North for round three on March 12, with the fourth and final round set for Taupo on March 25.
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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