UPDATE: Saturday 15th & Sunday 16th December. Closed. Unfortunately torrential rain has now made the tracks too wet.

Cooper Smashes MX1 Class

2015 NZ MX Nationals Round 2 Timaru

maddix park mx

CAPTION: Mount Maunganui's Cody Cooper (The Honda Shop Racing Team CRF450), on top of the MX1 class after racing near Timaru on Sunday. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com

FEBRUARY 23, 2015: Cody Cooper has the No.1 emblazoned on his big red Honda CRF450 for a reason and his rivals were left in no doubt as to what that reason was at Timaru on Sunday.

Click here for race highlights. The 31-year-old Cooper blitzed the field at the second of four rounds of the JT Racing-sponsored New Zealand Motocross Championships at Pleasant Point, near Timaru, on Sunday, racing away to three wins from three starts in the premier MX1 class.

Riding for The Honda Shop Racing Team, the defending national champion from Mount Maunganui led team-mate John Phillips past the chequered flag each time, making it a classic 1-2 Honda double-whammy punch in the face for their title rivals.

However, at the end of the series, now at the halfway stage, there can be only one champion and the fight is probably just beginning to warm up between these two Honda men.

Despite this, Cooper and Phillips – riding identical CRF450 bikes – appear to be great mates and there is no friction in the pits. They do all their battling on the race track.

Cooper experienced difficulties with the concrete starting pad at the opening round in Taranaki a fortnight ago – forced to settle for fourth overall on the day – but he was back to his sublime best at Timaru on Sunday, finishing the day unbeaten and building for himself a three-point advantage over fellow Bay of Plenty rider Phillips at the top of the standings.

It was a good day in Timaru for Phillips too.

Rotorua's Phillips had been third overall at the start of the day, but, apart from being unable to beat fellow Kiwi international Cooper, he was more than a match for the rest of his MX1 rivals on Sunday.

Visiting Australian KTM rider Kirk Gibbs slipped back from the runner-up spot after round one to be now third in the championship standings, seven points behind Phillips.

"This was exactly what I had been planning all week," said Cooper afterwards.

"I scored a start-to-finish win in race one but I was only third at the start of race two and had my work cut out to get into the lead. John (Phillips) was riding great and the track was very much a one-lined affair.

"I'm pretty pleased to win all three today and I wasn't even riding at 100 percent. I was just trying to get a flow going.

"My knee is good now," he said, referring to the injury that kept him out of action for most of the latter half of last year.

"The track was a little slippery at round one and I was trying to be careful with my knee. But I feel quite comfortable now and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series."

Round three is set for Rotorua on March 8, with the fourth and final round at Pukekohe on March 15.

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com

 
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