Race Recap: Cody Cooper

NZ's 2013 MX1 Motocross Champion

maddix park mx










By Simon Makker www.motoonline.com.au

MotoOnline.com.au checks in with New Zealand's 2013 MX1 Motocross champion, Cody Cooper. Image: MadMax Photography

If you had to pick one racer who’s made some serious waves already this year, it’s Motul Pirelli Suzuki’s Cody Cooper. The soft-spoken Kiwi has raised eyebrows everywhere with his new-found speed, aggression and consistency that saw him claim the 2013 MX1 New Zealand Motocross Championship against some of Australia’s best racers over the weekend.

MotoOnline.com.au caught up with the 29-year-old to find out how he’s changed up his game.

Congratulations on winning the NZ championship, buddy. You must be pretty pumped with your form right now.

Yeah I’m really happy with where I’m at at the moment. I had a big points lead coming into the final round at Taupo and the title was mine to lose, so I tried not to do anything too silly out there. But this championship means a lot to me, especially with the competition we faced with the Aussies coming over for it.

It’s lifted the profile of the series and I can see more Australians riders coming over next year as good preparation to the MX Nationals.

You’ve been riding on a whole new level this year. What’s changed?

At the start of last year I started pulling my finger out, started training harder and hired a sports psychologist to work on the mental side of things. I hired a new trainer this year as well, he knows a lot about me and what makes me tick and has me on a wicked training regime.

I’m starting to see some good results from that – I’m probably 20 percent stronger than I was this time last year and I reckon I can get another 20 percent stronger during the season. I think all the little bits and pieces are coming together now and I’ve worked hard at becoming a complete package.

In the past that you’ve struggled with consistency and putting a whole event together. Is that something you’ve been working on?

I don’t think I’ve necessarily concentrated on consistency, but the areas I’m working on cover it, if that makes sense. My goal is to be right up there every start, and to stay there every race. That’s been working for me.

My starts have been a bit hit and miss in the past and now I’m making them consistent. It’s funny though, because between the last two rounds I didn’t practice one start. It’s all in the head and if you know you’re good, you’re going to be in the top three every time. Starts are such a mental thing.

Cooper’s strong form has come at the perfect time heading into the Monster Energy MX Nationals season opener next week. Image: Ryan Burrows NZ.

Billy Mackenzie and Todd Waters probably pushed you the most during the NZ Motocross Championship. Do you think you’ll still have them covered when you lose your home-ground advantage?

They’re both riding well, but I’ll keep my thoughts to myself in case they come back to bite me! I know what I’m going over to do in Australia and I’ve beaten them before last year when I wasn’t feeling as fast, strong or as confident as I do now. Until we start the MX Nationals, though, I can’t really predict how everyone will go.


What are your thoughts on Ben Townley retiring?

It was so unexpected, but I think it’ll be a big relief and a big weight off his shoulders because he’s had a lot of bad luck. He’s got his family to look after and I respect him for everything he’s done. He’ll move onto something new, but he’ll always be involved in motocross.

I’ve raced against Ben since our junior days and I used to be so scared of him. Back when we rode 80s he had this painted helmet with a skull on the back and I really didn’t want to race him. He’s still got that helmet and sometimes pulls it out just before we practice, just to put me off my game [laughs].

That’s gold! You’ve raced in the US before, but now that you’re fitter, faster and more confident than ever before, are you aiming for another shot at racing overseas in the future?

I want to go back to the US during our mid-season break in June to do a couple rounds. I haven’t sorted anything out yet, but I should be a lot fitter by then and nearing my peak, so it should be fun catching up with everyone and seeing where I’m at.

Lawson [Bopping] is over there at the moment and as a result he’s one of the only unknowns as far as form goes. At one stage or another everyone has raced each other before the MX Nationals starts and we have an idea of everyone’s speed and fitness.
But Lawson is the only one keeping it low-key in America. It’ll be interesting to see how fast he is next weekend.

Guess we’ll have to wait and see, Coop! Thanks for the chat and we’ll see you in 10 days time.

Can’t wait, thanks boi!

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