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Cooper on Track; Duncan Amazing !


maddix park mx

CAPTION: Mount Maunganui's Cody Cooper (Honda Racing Team CRF450), still the man to beat in the MX1 class in New Zealand. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com

FEBRUARY 1, 2016: It is fair to say that Cody Cooper's warm-up for the motocross nationals has just about reached boiling point.

In fact, the Mount Maunganui man is so hot at the moment that the 32-year-old is clear favourite to win a fourth consecutive New Zealand Motocross Championships title in the premier MX1 class, that four-round series set to kick off at Pleasant Point, near Timaru, next weekend.

It was certainly a sizzling performance from Cooper at his final warm-up event, the 55th annual Honda New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville at the weekend, with Cooper again winning the MX1 class trophy.

He didn't have it all his own way at Woodville, though, pushed hard during Sunday's scorcher by visiting internationals Dean Ferris, Todd Waters and Jake Nicholls and by a slew of fellow Kiwi internationals in Brad Groombridge, Rhys Carter, Scott Columb, Hamish Harwood and Daryl Hurley.

But, in the end, Cooper got the job done. 

Cooper posted a 1-2-2 score-card to beat Australian former GP star Ferris (2-1-3) to the MX1 class win by four points.

"Normally I win all my races here because of my starts. I had a bit more work to do this year," said Cooper.

"I think I'm peaking at the moment and I'm really looking forward to the nationals.

"In winning the first race today, it took the pressure off me and I knew after that I just needed to stay ahead of Ferris in the races that followed. It was dusty and pretty sketchy out there, so I was sort of in cruise mode. I didn't push too hard to try to beat Todd (Waters) in that last race, because I knew I was ahead of Ferris and that's what mattered in the end."

However, for Cooper, this year's Woodville event was also perhaps another case of him winning the battles but actually losing the war, with Ferris leading from start to finish in the gruelling five-lap Invitation Feature Race, the one race that decides who is crowned overall Woodville champion.

Cooper won this feature race at Woodville in 2007 and 2014, but was again denied in making it a hat-trick by the narrowest of margins, Ferris crossing the line just a smidgen over one second ahead of Cooper, with the Honda man wishing the race could have gone a little longer.

"That would have been nice. Just one more lap might have done it," Cooper smiled.

The Honda Racing Team is supported by Blue Wing Honda, 100% Goggles, Alpinestars, Bell Helmets, Diesel Mechanical, Dr Trim, DRC, EBC Brakes, EZE Race Products, Hinson Clutch, Honda Racing, Matrix Products, Motul, NDub Designs, Picton Auto Electrical, Pirelli, Raceengines.com, Renthal, Supersprox, Talon, TSUBAKI, Twin Air, Vortex Ignitions, Works Connection, Yoshimura and Zeta.

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

Duncan beats the boys!!!!

Our Australasian media partner Andy McGechan has reported that New Zealand’s top female motocrosser Courtney Duncan is ready, willing and extremely capable of standing on top of the podium in Europe after an amazing performance at last weekend New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix.

The Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing Team rider had more practice at doing just that when she again stunned the Kiwi motocross community by whipping both the cream of the women and elite of the men at the weekend’s 55th running of the NZGP at Woodville.

It was one of her final warm-up races before she flies out to tackle the opening round of the Women’s World Motocross Championships in Qatar on February 27-28 and her two class wins at New Zealand’s biggest stand-alone motocross was certainly compelling evidence that she’ll be a contender.

The just-turned 20-year-old was dwarfed on the MX2 (250cc) podium by two fellow Kiwi internationals, Hamilton’s Josiah Natzke and Takaka’s Hamish Harwood, but there was nothing pint-sized about her achievements at the weekend.

She lapped most of the field in each of her three women’s class races – winning the day ahead of fellow Yamaha rider Jessie Waterhouse, from Tauranga – and, with barely time enough to refuel her Yamaha YZ250F and replace the air filter, and with rivulets of perspiration still rolling down her face, she was back on the start line to tackle the MX2 men.

Natzke was European 125cc No.2 and New Zealand 125cc champion last season, while former Australian under-19 champion Harwood was national MX2 No.2 last year, but they were both humbled by the young woman from Palmerston, near Dunedin.

Duncan produced a 1-3-2 score-line in the MX2 class, edging out Natzke (Red Bull KTM) by four points, with Harwood (CML Racing KTM) another three points further back, while her fellow Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing team-mates Kayne Lamont and Ethan Martens rounded out the top five.

“The day went really well,” she said, in classic understatement. “I had three reasonably good starts (in the MX2 class) and then just set about riding my own race. Everyone is fast in this class, but I just wanted to focus on my own riding.

“My fitness has definitely improved over the past few weeks and working with (Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing Team boss) Josh Coppins has given me a great boost.”

As for Coppins, he was naturally delighted with the weekend, with Australian visitor Dean Ferris, making his debut at Woodville, also impressive in taking his YZ450F to win the Woodville title crown outright.

“It was a great day for us, but we’re always looking to improve,” he said.

“Courtney (Duncan) was outstanding of course. Kayne (Lamont) had a stomach bug all week, but came through to win the final MX2 moto and Ethan (Martens) was also impressive in riding the Yamaha YZ250 two-stroke to fifth place overall in that class.

“Dean (Ferris) did just what I expected him to do. He’s a world class rider.”


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