“Last year I raced at the first two rounds in California. This year I’m going to carry on (and race the entire Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series),” said the 34-year-old Cooper (Honda CRF450).
“It’s something I really want to do and I want to do it while I still can.
“I like racing in America a lot. They have great tracks and it’s fun travelling around. I’ll be doing it for fun, but doing it professionally as well.”
Cooper finished runner-up to Australian Kirk Gibbs (KTM 450F) in the MX1 class in the 2018 New Zealand Motocross Championships, which wrapped up at Taupo in March.
Cooper is a six-time former New Zealand MX1 motocross champion (and a two-time former New Zealand 125cc champion) and he has a ton of international racing experience.
The 12-round AMA Motocross Championships kick off at Hangtown, in Sacramento, California, on Saturday, May 19, and runs until August 25 with the final round in Crawfordsville, Indiana.
Defending 450 Class champion Eli Tomac (Monster Energy Kawasaki) and his title-holding 250 Class counterpart Zach Osborne (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing) will lead the riders who are some of the most talented riders on the planet into action at Hangtown.
Meanwhile, the Autotrader/ Yoshimura/ Suzuki Factory Racing Team has announced that Phil Nicoletti will be contesting select 450 rounds of this national series.
The man from Cochecton, New York, will be filling-in on the all-new Suzuki RM-Z450 while Justin Bogle heals from an upper arm injury sustained during the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross Championship.
Nicoletti has been with the Autotrader/ Yoshimura/ Suzuki Factory Racing Team since 2014. Determined and tough, the 29-year-old has earned 27 top-10 finishes in the 450 Nationals during his career, including three overall top-five finishes. Nicoletti will compete on a race-by-race basis until Bogle returns to action.
“I’m happy to be able to ride the Suzuki RM-Z450 for the outdoors,” said Nicoletti.
“I want to redeem myself after missing most of the Nationals last year, and not having the chance to race the RM-Z450 to my full potential. I’m excited to ride the new chassis and continue my relationship with my friends on the Autotrader/ Yoshimura/ Suzuki Factory Racing Team.”
Team manager Jeremy Albrecht is looking forward to continue working with Nicoletti and said: “I’m excited to have Phil continue with us for the start of the Nationals. He has the ability to make an impact on the RM-Z450. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can accomplish.”
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2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship Schedule:
May 19 – Hangtown Motocross Classic; Sacramento, Calif.
May 26 – Glen Helen National; San Bernardino, Calif.
June 2 – Thunder Valley National; Lakewood, Colo.
June 16 – High Point National; Mt. Morris, Pa.
June 23 – Tennessee National; Blountville, Tenn.
June 30 – Southwick National; Southwick, Mass.
July 7 – RedBud National; Buchanan, Mich.
July 21 – Spring Creek National; Millville, Minn.
July 28 – Washougal National; Washougal, Wash.
August 11 – Unadilla National; New Berlin, N.Y.
August 18 – Budds Creek National; Mechanicsville, Md.
August 25 – Ironman National; Crawfordsville, Ind.