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Honda's Cooper takes Another Win

Honda Woodville Report

maddix park mx

CAPTION: Mount Maunganui's Cody Cooper (Honda), the MX1 class and invitation feature race winner at Woodville this season. Photo by Andy McGechan,

JANUARY 27, 2014: It is now three wins in a row for Honda at the New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville, a huge annual event that the bike company also sponsors.

Mount Maunganui’s Cody Cooper rode a Honda to collect his first big win at the annual Honda New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville in 2007 and then rode a Suzuki to finish runner-up last season, finishing behind Tauranga international Ben Townley (Honda).

But then Honda’s Townley, who was also the winner at Woodville in 2012, retired from full-time racing last year and immediately took on the job as manager of The Honda Shop Racing Team.

Townley’s first order of business was to recruit former rival Cooper to join him under the red Honda awning.

Cooper has quickly shown that he is extremely happy with the new 2014-model CRF450 bike, rewarding his team boss Townley and The Honda Shop Racing Team owner, Waikato’s Phil Empson, with their second major title of the summer.

The 30-year-old Cooper had also won the open class title at the 2013 New Zealand Supercross Championships in November, just a month after signing up to race for Honda.

With the four-round New Zealand Motocross Championships set to kick off near Timaru in less than two weeks, Cooper's mission at the weekend was to send a signal to his rivals by winning the top two titles at the Honda New Zealand Motocross GP at Woodville, the MX1 class title and the Invitation Feature Race that has the NZ GP crown as its prize.

Cooper twice finished runner-up to Australian KTM rider Ford Dale in the opening MX1 clashes, but the Honda ace then came on strong to win the third and final MX1 race and the all-important NZ GP race as well.

Dale dropped out of the third MX1 race with wrist cramp problems and so Cooper’s 2-2-1 results were easily enough for him to win the day.

"Consistency has always been one of my downfalls in the past ... but perhaps not now," declared the 30-year-old Cooper afterwards.

"It was very hard to pass on this track and I wasn't getting good starts. You really can't sprint on this track because it'll bite you.

"I knew the Aussies would be fast and I knew if I could get a decent start I'd be able to match their pace. I let myself down a bit with my starts ... I was popping wheelies out of the gate."

The MX2 (250cc) class at Woodville produced a surprise winner with Mangakino's Kayne Lamont winning the day with 1-3-2 results, putting him ahead of Rotorua's John Phillips (Honda) on the scoreboard.

Phillips (The Honda Shop Racing CRF250) finished 5-1-5 in his three MX2 outings.

“It is very early days for Cody on this bike, so it’s an excellent result for him,” said Townley.

“There is nothing better than proper racing like this to get him prepared for defending his national MX1 title.”

The motocross nationals kick off near Timaru on February 8.

Cooper’s win on Sunday gave Honda its fourth Woodville GP title in five years, with Christchurch’s Justin McDonald winning on a Honda in 2010 and Motueka’s Josh Coppins winning on a Yamaha in 2011.

Credit: Words by Andy McGechan,

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