Bay of Plenty’s Cody Cooper showed his world class talent to overcome horrendous track conditions and produce an ideal unbeaten opening performance at round one of this season’s New Zealand Supercross Championships in Tokoroa on Labour Weekend Monday.
The man-made circuit, on the outskirts of the South Waikato forestry town, took a hammering from overnight rain and the water continued to fall throughout the day, turning an otherwise pristine racing surface into a slippery mess.
It highlighted the calibre of the riders entered that racing was able to continue, although many riders did come unstuck in the treacherous mud at the TransDiesel and Mainstream Global Logistics-sponsored series opener.
However, Honda Racing Team rider Cooper showed his international class as he tamed both the track and his SX1 class rivals, surging to a hat-trick of wins and building a solid nine-point advantage over his main rival, Mangakino’s Kayne Lamont (Altherm JCR Yamaha), with Tauranga’s Roydon White (Team Green Kawasaki) claiming the final podium spot, eight points further back.
“The track would have been awesome if the rain had stayed away,” said Cooper afterwards.
“The racing got pretty tricky by the last race. The bike got heavy (with mud caked on it) and the ruts got deeper every lap. You simply couldn’t fight the bike or you’d end up crashing.”
Meanwhile, Motueka’s former Grand Prix motocross racer Josh Coppins (Altherm JCR Yamaha) was a surprise last-minute entry in the SX2 (250cc) class and he constructed a 15-point lead in the class over Hawke’s Bay cross-country racing expert Reece Lister (KTM).
The rider who had finished first-equal in the SX2 class last season and who had been pressuring Coppins early in the day, Honda Racing Team rider Micah McGoldrick (from Tauranga), was forced to accept third overall position after he crashed out of the third and final SX2 race of the afternoon in Tokoroa.
Consistency enabled Te Awamutu’s Daniel White (Kawasaki) to win the Junior 125/250cc class battle ahead of Dunedin’s Grason Veitch (KTM), while just one point separates Invercargill’s Jack Symon (KTM), Hamilton’s Dylan Westgate (Suzuki) and Ashburton’s Ben Wall (Husqvarna) at the top of the Junior Lites (85cc) class.
The supercross nationals are now at the halfway stage with the Honda-sponsored second and final round set for the Cooper-VetSouth Supercross Track near Winton next Saturday.
“I’m really looking forward to next weekend and the Honda-sponsored final round and then I’ll be focussed on building up for the Waikato Motocross Championships, the Honda Whakatane Summercross and then the Honda New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville.”
The four-round New Zealand Motocross Championships follow in February and March and Cooper will be determined to defend his MX1 crown.
Leading standings after the first of two rounds of the New Zealand Supercross Championships in Tokoroa on Monday:
SX1: Cody Cooper (Mount Maunganui) 60 points; Kayne Lamont (Mangakino) 51; Roydon White (Tauranga) 43.
SX2 (250cc): Josh Coppins (Motueka) 60 points; Reece Lister (Kotemaori) 45; Micah McGoldrick (Tauranga) and Clayton Roeske (Nelson) 34.
Junior 125/250: Daniel White (Te Awamutu) 54 points; Grason Veitch (Dunedin) 52; Marshall Phillips (Christchurch) 41.
Junior Lites (85cc): Jack Symon (Invercargill) 46 points; Dylan Westgate (Hamilton) and Ben Wall (Ashburton) 45.
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
Find BikesportNZ.com on FACEBOOK here