Papamoa's Cody Cooper will be racing with a new aggression this weekend. Photo / Andy McGechan,

National MX1 motocross champion, Papamoa's Cody Cooper, has "been too soft" so far this season, and he admits his title defence hasn't been going well.

"But that's about to change this weekend," he said of the approaching latest round of the national title series.

The 32-year-old Cooper will arrive at the Rotorua Motorcycle Club's circuit for the third round of four this weekend with the flames of desire rekindled and a new hard-nosed attitude.

The hilly venue, just off State Highway 30 at Horohoro, is one of Cooper's favourite tracks and he believes if anyone is going to win there, it's him.

With the four-round series at the halfway stage, anything can still happen and, although two Australian riders - Dean Ferris and Todd Waters - are ahead of him in the hunt for MX1 class glory, Cooper is only 19 points behind and knows he can turn his campaign around.

"I haven't been aggressive enough," said Cooper. "I've been too kind to the other riders. There have been moments when I could have punted Ferris or Waters off a berm, but I haven't.

"I'm not going to stand aside any more. I'm going to be angrier on the track., That doesn't mean I'll ride angry ... I'll be in total control ... but I need to get this job done.

"I was close to both Ferris and Waters at (round one at) Timaru and, if I had gotten the starts right, I could have pulled away. I need to work on my starts and get my game face on."

Meanwhile, Takaka's Hamish Harwood has a firm grip on the MX2 (250cc) class, although another Australian rider, Victoria's Jed Beaton, is not too far behind.

This MX2 class, in particular, is bulging with riders who have the talent to win.

Reporoa's Hadleigh Knight, Waitakere's Ethan Martens and Rangiora's Micah McGoldrick, Taupo's Cohen Chase and Te Puke's Logan Blackburn are just some of the riders who have been contenders for a win this season.

In the 125cc class, Thames Valley rider Ben Broad has had a dream run, with five wins from six starts.

Broad is 28 points clear of his nearest challenger, Taupo's Wyatt Chase, but he is also aware that with 25 points on offer for each of the remaining races in the series, he can't afford to make a mistake.

Waiting to take advantage if Broad or Chase do happen to slip up are Feilding's Tony Cvitanovich, Karaka's Kurtis Lilly, Beachlands' rider Blake Gillard, Papakura's Sean O'Connor and Kotemaori's Reece Lister.

There is no time to rest for the riders after this weekend, with the fourth and final round set for the Digger McEwen Motocross Park facility, on the outskirts of Taupo, just one week later, on March 20.

Bay of Plenty Times  10.03.16