Monday 10th & Tuesday 11th December: CLOSED> Tracks are closed on Mondays & Tuesdays.

Riders scrub up for premier national race

Summercross 2015

maddix park mx

Photos and text by Andy McGechan

It is one of the biggest motocross events of the summer and it's just around the corner - the big annual Whakatane Summercross.

The popular summercross event is set for this coming Sunday and Monday, with juniors racing Sunday and seniors on Monday. It will celebrate its 44th birthday as one of New Zealand's premier stand-alone motocross events.

While the list of potential winners is as long as it is sparkling, most pundits will be picking Mount Maunganui's national MX1 champion Cody Cooper, who grew up in nearby Opotiki, to again put his Honda Racing Team CRF450 on top of the senior open class podium.

Kiwi international Cooper has won the main class at Summercross in the past and, considering the Honda Racing Team star's recent winning form at the Waikato Motocross Championships and Auckland Motocross Championships, he would have to rate as a firm favourite to win at Whakatane again this season.

As well as attracting the cream of New Zealand motocross racers to the Awakaponga circuit, near Matata, just outside Whakatane, each December, the Honda-sponsored event will again this year provide a springboard for riders heading into the busy part of the season, culminating with the four-round New Zealand Motocross Championships in February and March.

Another Kiwi international, Motueka's Josh Coppins, will be expected to keep Cooper honest, as will Auckland KTM rider Hamish Harwood, Taupo Suzuki rider Brad Groombridge, Tauranga's Roydon White (KTM) and especially Mount Maunganui's Rhys Carter (Suzuki), who surprised by winning this event last season.

"This event will be the first big hit-out of the season to feature all the major teams," Bay of Plenty Motorcycle Club spokesman Tony Rees said.

"It is a great time of year for racing and, fingers crossed, the weather should be fine. The track has had a lot of alterations to improve it, with the crowd-favourite saw-dust section put back in. We like to offer a different track from each previous year."

A mini motocross section has been extended this year and has features that will really test the youngest riders, although the more advanced of the 65cc class riders are also invited to race with the juniors on the main track on Sunday.

The Honda Whakatane Summercross is a two-day affair, with minis and juniors racing on Sunday and the seniors, women and veterans racing on Monday as the Boxing Day weekend spills over into the new week.

Rotorua Daily Post

By Andy McGechan

 
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