Cooper Claims Woodville Glory with Motocross Grand Prix
The 2014 Honda New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at
Cooper Claims Woodville Glory
McGechan | www.BikesportNZ.com
January 27, 2014
Mount Maunganui's Cody Cooper has again won the New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix title, although he certainly had to work hard to repeat the feat this time around.
Cooper rode a Honda to collect his first big win at the annual New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville in 2007 and was determined on Sunday to reclaim the top step of the podium at this 53rd annual running of the iconic Honda-sponsored Woodville event.
With the four-round nationals 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 Woodville, the MX1 class title and the Invitation Feature Race.
However, Cooper was perhaps surprised by the power-packed potency of Australian KTM team riders Ford Dale and Kirk Gibbs who had crossed the Tasman to tackle Woodville on Sunday.
Dale won the first two MX1 class races of the day and looked odds-on to wrap up the MX1 crown and perhaps to win the Invitation Feature Race as well – the race that has the NZ GP crown as its prize.
But Cooper came on strong in the feature race to catch and pass fast-starting Dale and then built an eight-second buffer before the finish, giving him the GP title.
Cooper then won the day’s final MX1 race as Dale had to withdraw with painful wrist cramps, that enough for Cooper to win the MX1 class outright, his 2-2-1 results giving him an 11-point winning margin over eventual runner-up Brad Groombridge (Suzuki), of Taupo.
"Consistency has always been one of my downfalls in the past ... but perhaps not now," declared the 30-year-old Cooper afterwards.
"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 – just recovered from surgery and riding a new bike for a new team – won the day with 1-3-2 results, finishing ahead of Rotorua's John Phillips (Honda) and Dargaville's Hamish Dobbyn (KTM).
Lamont also took one of the new Husqvarna Red Bull New Zealand Racing Team bikes to win the stand-alone Roddy Shirriffs Memorial race, for riders aged under-22 years.
Tauranga's Aaron Wiltshier won the 125cc class ahead of fellow KTM rider Josiah Natzke, of Hamilton, with Ngatea's Ben Broad (Yamaha) taking third step on the podium.
Pahiatua international Paul Whibley (Yamaha) was simply too good for his rivals in the crowd-favourite River Race, the two-time United States cross-country champion comfortably winning both races from Honda's Townley, who had briefly come out of retirement to "tick the bucket list box" and contest the splash-filled race.