Back to It

Cody Cooper & the USA

maddix park mx

Article from Dirtrider Downunder

Crown Kiwi Enterprises, the Kiwi distributors of Alpinestars, Bell Helmets and 100% (and other iconic brands) are taking Cody Cooper to race the AMA Pro Motocross Nationals… and you can be a part of it. 

That’s right, Coops is heading back to the United States to race the AMA Nationals, starting with two rounds at Hangtown and Glen Helen on a Honda CRF450R, with the support of Crown Kiwi Enterprises and its director and former FIM 500cc World Champion, Shayne King.

“People have asked if it’s a reward for winning the New Zealand MX1 title,” says Coops, “but it’s more about keeping the momentum going, as well as Shayne always wanting to keep the sport of moto progressing in New Zealand.

“As you know, Shayne loves to be involved in all levels of moto – from mini moto in New Zealand to AMA Supercross in North America – since he just loves it so much. Obviously, it’s awesome to have someone like that in my corner, as he’s always been there to support me in my racing and such opportunities.

“Coming off the New Zealand Nationals, I’m feeling really good. My training is going well, with my fitness at the level it needs to be and my riding almost as good as it’s ever been. I’m also having fun with it. But while I’m going there to have fun, as racing is just that – fun – I’ll also be there to race, so I do have expectations.”

The last time Coops raced an AMA National, he finished second overall at Unadilla to James Stewart, the latter then known as the “Fastest Man on the Planet”. The podium finish at one of the most iconic tracks in motocross is still known as one of the all-time great moments of Kiwis racing on the international scene.

Because of that, King is supporting Coops and his racing effort, just like he has in New Zealand, but bringing a new angle that involves Kiwi motocross fans, too.

“We’re just in the planning stages of putting together a package for supporters who want to travel to California and watch the racing, which will truly be something special, “ said King. “We’ll have all the details in less than a fortnight, but it will see the supporters being at the track, staying at the same hotels and seeing what goes on while racing at that level – and, as California really is the centre of moto, it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“And since the first two rounds take place in San Francisco and Los Angeles, it means it is a trip that families can do, since it is easily done in ten days. The chance for kids to get a signed jersey from Coops, while seeing him race at two such motocross tracks, is an experience all on its own – it will be inspring for the next generation of Kiwi motocross racers.”

While Coops is keeping it fun, he is also pushing for good results, including a top ten: “There’s no point in going there if I can’t get a top ten. If I get anything better than that, it’s just a bonus. That’s why I’ll be heading over a few weeks earlier, so I can get used to the tracks and get back into the rhythm of such a professional scene. We’ll be using that time to set the bike up, too, especially for Glen Helen. That has such a long start, big hills and it can get rough, so the right setup is key.

“I’ll only be racing two rounds, and not the whole series, as it is an expensive thing to race one round let alone the whole series, so I’m grateful to the support I am getting from Shayne.”

“For me,” says Shayne, “it’s about getting the benefit of what we do over there, for the Kiwi motocross scene. Unfortunately, with what Ben, Courtney and Josiah are doing, most of the racing is in the middle of the night, but California works a lot better for fans to tune in on a Sunday in New Zealand.”

At this stage, the small but experienced team are going to focus on the first two rounds, but there is a chance for more rounds.

“I think he’s got the speed, the fitness and he’s definitely got the bike – he’s got everything there to make it work, Kiwi style,” says Shayne. “Especially coming off the Nationals, and the high he’s on, it could all come together. I’m behind him 100 per cent, so I’ll do everything I can to make it happen and right for him.”

In a fortnight, there will be more information on the supporters’ programme, with full coverage on in Dirt Rider Downunder Magazine, which will give everyone an insight about what happens when you go to race in the States.

“If that gives one kid the inspiration to chase their dreams, we’ve done our job,” says Shayne.

For anyone who is looking to support Coops’ race effort, by being a bigger part of the campaign, they can get in touch with Shayne ([email protected]) about getting their name on the Alpinestars racewear and CRF450R.

Catching Up with Cody Cooper   Simon Makker Interview

New Zealand champion talks latest title win, Australia and more.

Winning a national motocross title is a huge achievement in its own right. Claiming four championships on the trot is reserved for only the top echelon of riders, and that’s exactly what The Honda Racing Team’s Cody Cooper achieved this year when he held off fierce charges from Dean Ferris and Todd Waters to stand atop the New Zealand Motocross Championship MX1 podium. We caught up with Coops to get his take on a hard-fought title, the chances of him returning to Australia this year and what the future holds.

First up, mate, congratulations on winning your fourth straight New Zealand Motocross Championship. That’s a pretty impressive record.

Yeah, I’m pretty happy with that. I’ve won five MX1 titles now and the last four in a row, and considering we’ve had some big Aussie names come over the last couple of years, it feels pretty good. I’m not sure what the record in a row is here in New Zealand but I’d say it’d be held by either Darryll or Shayne King; I must be starting to close in on it now though!

How was it this year, with both Dean and Todd coming over to do battle?

It made it more interesting, that’s for sure. Both those guys raced the GPs the past few years so they know how to ride a bike. Coming into the first round I felt fast and Dean was holding a similar speed to me, but I struggled with starts while he got great starts. I kind of lost my way a bit playing around with settings on the new Ohlins suspension; starts has always been one of my strengths so I knuckled down for the third and fourth rounds, found some good settings and got them sorted again. It was what I needed to get those points back. Also, I over trained too much early on and at the second round at Manawatu my legs were that stuffed I could hardly stand up in the last two motos. I had a bit of back trouble after that round as well, but that forced me to take it a bit easier coming into Rotorua and I felt awesome there. That made me realise that I’d been overtraining hard-out; it’s weird when you forget some of those things that you’ve learnt in the past and you find yourself making the same mistakes all over again. But yeah, Rotorua and Taupo went perfectly and I managed to pull back the points on Dean to take the title again.

What is it about the New Zealand MX Nationals that makes you find another gear?

I guess it’s easy training during our summer and my team let’s me do what I want to do. They give me all the equipment I need, but I’m my own boss and as long as I get the job done, then it’s all good. The team’s awesome in that respect. Shayne King hooked me up with all the product I need and the Ohlins suspension and I just get stuck into the job in front of me.

At the same time, you always seemed to struggle taking that speed and momentum over to Australia. Why do you think that is?

I don’t know. I think I can be just as fast and motivated if I’d found the right structure over there. You’ve got to be happy with where you’re at and to be honest, I never really felt 100 per cent settled and stoked with racing in Australia. Some of the tracks could be better, but I kind of got a bit bored with it. I might come back and use the final two rounds as preparation for the Motocross of Nations, and get some race-time under my belt but that’d be all I do this year, I think.

So you didn’t receive any interest after winning the New Zealand championship this year?

No, nothing. And it’s not worth me going over there as a privateer pouring all my money into a campaign and getting nothing out of it. I’d rather go to the US and do a couple of races there – it’ll cost me less money but I’ll probably get more recognition out of it if I do well – and pick and choose other events around the world that I want to race on my own terms. I’m getting older now, so I want to have fun with my racing.

So am I hearing that you’re planning to race in the States later this year?

Yeah, I’m pretty keen get over there for a couple of weeks and race the opening two rounds of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship at Hangtown and Glen Helen. I’m trying to work it all out at the moment, but I know a lot of people over there who’d be happy to help me out from my days racing there.

That sounds like a sweet plan, man. Between now and May you’ve got a bit of time up your sleeve, though. What are your plans?

Just to ride really, get out on the mountain bike, ride for fun, get my fitness up and do some more coaching. The coaching’s been going pretty good, but I’m still learning how to get the word out there that I’ve got schools available. I really enjoy teaching others how to ride better and it’s a good feeling when you see them get a lot faster after a session.

Good stuff. Well thanks for the chat, bud. Hopefully we’ll see you at Toowoomba and Coolum at the end of the season.

Sounds good, boi. Catch ya then.

Bookmark and Share