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

Honda Celebrates Double Whammy

Woodville MX GP 2015 Day 2

maddix park mx

CAPTION: Mount Maunganui's Cody Cooper (The Honda Shop Racing Team CRF450), on his way to scoring a hat-trick of wins at Woodville on Sunday. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com

JANUARY 26, 2015: The Honda Shop Racing Team celebrated a double whammy at the weekend's 54th annual New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville.

The iconic event at the eastern end of the Manawatu Gorge was again sponsored this year by Honda and it was made all that much sweeter for the men in red when Bay of Plenty Honda riders Cody Cooper and Michael Phillips collected two of the event's most prestigious trophies.

Racing for The Honda Shop Racing Team, Mount Maunganui's Cooper scored an impressive hat-trick of wins to sweep the premier MX1 class at Woodville, each time heading Australian professional Kirk Gibbs across the finish line.

And while Cooper was carving up the big bike class, his Rotorua team-mate Michael Phillips was powering his way to the top of the MX2 (250cc) class.

Phillips wasn't able to emulate Cooper's MX1 class dominance, but he improved as the day wore on, finishing 3-2-1 in his three MX2 outings to eventually win the class by a healthy 11-point margin over another visiting Australian professional, Caleb Ward.

Gibbs won the day's all-in feature race, a four-lap sprint, but that did nothing to lessen the huge impact and significance of Cooper's MX1 class dominance.

The 31-year-old Cooper, a two-time former outright winner at Woodville and therefore one of the favourites to win on Sunday, had been sidelined with a serious injury to his right knee since June last year and had only begun riding again in November, so his total dominance of the MX1 class was remarkable.

It was also extremely significant, with the four-round New Zealand Motocross Championships and his MX1 title defence set to begin in Taranaki in less than two weeks' time.

"My knee felt okay today, although in was aching a bit in the end. I lost a lot of muscle mass because I couldn't do rehab while I was injured. I can only get better from here on."

Cooper wore the new Alpinestars Custom Camo apparel but there was nothing furtive, secretive or particularly sneaky about Cooper's Woodville assault ... it's perhaps impossible, even for camouflage gear, to hide a man who is way out in front of the pack.

For 28-year-old Phillips, originally lured out of retirement and drafted into The Honda Shop Racing Team merely as a 'fill-in' rider for the squad's injured MX2 rider, it was another great victory.

The so-called reserve has now made it three significant MX2 class wins in almost as many weeks.

He won the MX2 class at the Honda Whakatane Summercross just after Christmas and then backed that up by also winning the MX2 class at the annual King of the Mountain motocross in Taranaki just over a week ago.

Now with the win at Woodville to his credit, Phillips must rate among the favourites to win the MX2 class at the upcoming nationals.

"The team worked awesome this weekend and the win is a good confidence booster for me.

"It was tough on the track today ... I was yelling at lappers to get out of the way. It was hard to pass today but, in the last race, I managed to pull a good lead at the start and then just built on that."

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

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Andy McGechan

BikesportNZ.com Ltd

Phone 06-758-5182

 
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