But Mount Maunganui rider Cody Cooper can switch on pretty quickly and that’s what he did when he arrived at Winton, just north of Invercargill, for the second and final round of this season’s New Zealand Supercross Championships on Saturday.
The Honda Racing Team hero had “awoken” from holiday mode to race at the first of two rounds of the national series six days earlier (at Tokoroa on Labour Weekend Monday), taking his Honda CRF450 to score a hat-trick of wins and dominate the SX1 (450cc) class.
The scene had been set for a thrilling conclusion to the championship after close racing at a rain-drenched and muddy round Tokoroa and this time around there were no downpours to ruin the party.
A good-sized crowd was certainly entertained at the Brent Scammell Honda-supported, TransDiesel, Mainstream Global Logistics and DRD magazine-sponsored series finale at the “world’s southernmost supercross track” at Winton, just north of Invercargill.
Cooper was again in sensational form and, although he didn’t manage another clean-sweep of wins in the premier SX1 (450cc) class, as he had at a damp Tokoroa six days earlier, the 34-year-old’s 1-1-2 score-card at Winton meant he still emerged as the top man at the event and wrapped up the title by 12 points from Mangakino’s Kayne Lamont (Altherm JCR Yamaha YZ450F).
Eventual third overall in the SX1 class this season was Ngatea’s Ben Broad (Whyteline Kawasaki KX450F).
“I couldn’t quite win them all again at round two,” conceded Cooper afterwards, although five wins from six starts, and one runner-up finish, was impressive nonetheless.
“I made an attempt to pass Kayne (Lamont) in the last race, but it didn’t quite work out. The organisers had watered the track and it was a little bit slippery, so I just settled for second place in the end.
“I knew that I had done enough already to win the championship title and I didn’t really need to win that last race anyway.
“The supercross nationals were my first ride after having a month off and, officially, I’m still on holiday.”
Cooper’s SX2 (250cc) class team-mate, Tauranga-based former Rangiora rider Micah McGoldrick, put on a brave show after crashing out of racing at Tokoroa, winning one of the SX2 races at Winton, but it was always going to be mission impossible if he hoped to catch up to points leader Josh Coppins (Altherm JCR Yamaha YZ450F), of Motueka, and repeat the first-equal ranking he achieved at the supercross nationals last season.
McGoldrick (Honda Racing Team CRF250) had to settle for overall runner-up in the championship, a creditable performance considering that he could finish only five of the series’ six races.
Coppins was a surprise last-minute entry into the series after the team’s original 250cc entry, Mangakino’s Maximus Purvis, had been forced to withdraw with injury.
Third overall in the SX2 class this year was Kotemaori cross-country ace Reece Lister (Bike Worx KTM).
Te Awamutu’s Daniel White (Kawasaki) had led the Junior 125/250cc class battle at Tokoroa, but he was a no-show at Winton and this left the way clear for Dunedin’s Grason Veitch (KTM) to nip in and take the crown.
Veitch impressed with his 2-1-1 results at Winton, eventually taking the title by 14 points from Christchurch’s Marshall Phillips (Yamaha). Third overall in the Junior 125/250cc class this year was fast-improving Ashburton rider Mitchell Stocker (KTM).
Ashburton’s Ben Wall (Husqvarna) came from behind to win the Junior Lites (85cc) class. His 1-3-1 results at Winton meant he won the day by nine points from Palmerston North’s Rhys Jillings (KTM) and he eventually secured the title by 12 points from Jillings.
Invercargill’s Jack Symon (KTM) had led the Junior Lites class by a solitary point after Tokoroa and he again rode solidly at Winton, but a non-finish in the final race of the championship saw him forced to accept third overall for the series.
Leading final standings in the 2017 New Zealand Supercross Championships:
SX1: 1. Cody Cooper (Mount Maunganui) 117 points; 2. Kayne Lamont (Mangakino) 105; 3. Ben Broad (Ngatea) 86.
SX2 (250cc): 1. Josh Coppins (Motueka) 117 points; 2. Micah McGoldrick (Tauranga) 88; 3. Reece Lister (Kotemaori) 84.
Junior 125/250: 1. Grason Veitch (Dunedin) 109; 2. Marshall Phillips (Christchurch) 95; 3. Mitchell Stocker (Ashburton) 73.
Junior Lites (85cc): 1. Ben Wall (Ashburton) 100; 2. Rhys Jillings (Palmerston North) 88; 3. Jack Symon (Invercargill) 74.
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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