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Coppins to lead kiwi invasion

MXoN 2013

maddix park mx

www.mxlarge.com By 

Motueka’s Josh Coppins is no stranger to battling the world’s elite head-on, although he now has a new role, one that will more involve brains than brawn.

The 36-year-old former Grand Prix motocross star has been named as manager for New Zealand’s 2013 assault on the “Olympic Games of motocross”, the Motocross of Nations, set for Germany in late September.

The former New Zealand, British and Italian motocross champion – and the current Australian open class motocross champion – this season made the transition from racer to team manager and his new calling as New Zealand’s Motocross of Nations team boss seems an obvious one.

“I put my name forward about a month ago,” said Coppins. “Everything just seemed to tie in with me managing the team in Germany. I have raced at and won at this track (Teutschenthal, near Halle) during my GP career and it was actually the scene of my last double GP race win, in 2008.

“Now that me and (Taupo’s) Ben Townley have retired from fulltime professional racing, it means that Team New Zealand is in a rebuilding phase.

“My role will be to advise the Motorcycling New Zealand selectors about who would be suitable to step up. I will give them my thoughts but the final decision will come down to people such as MNZ motocross commissioner Bryan Davidson.

“We need to announce the team make-up at least six-to-eight weeks prior to the Motocross of Nations and that means we should have it all worked out by early August.

“We need to have time to prepare as a team and I’ll be monitoring the Kiwis who are currently racing in Australia and back home, to ensure we have the best team possible. Riders who feel they are in the mix should concentrate on staying healthy and performing well.

“Obviously Mount Maunganui’s Cody Cooper will be one rider we’ll look at closely to be in the team again, but other riders will be catching the eye of the selectors too.”

Coppins said it was a huge honour for a rider to be selected to race for his country at the Motocross of Nations and New Zealand has a proud history in the event.

Team New Zealand has been on the podium at the Motocross of Nations on three separate occasions – at Foxhills, in England, in 1998; at Namur, in Belgium, in 2001, and at Matterley Basin, in England, in 2006.

In all three instances, Coppins was one of the trio of New Zealand riders.

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

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