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Honda Stars Enjoy Winning Labour Weekend In Taupo

For eight races in a row, Honda star Cody Cooper was fastest out of the start gate and that translated into another overall winning performance for the multi-time former national motocross champion.

Labour Weekend's traditional MX Fest motocross extravaganza at Taupo again signalled the kick-off to the new season, something that had been in doubt in the current COVID-19 climate, and that this event could go ahead came as a welcome relief for a great portion of the Kiwi motocross community who eagerly showed up at Digger McEwen Motorcycle Park on Saturday and Sunday.

For 38-year-old Mount Maunganui man Cooper, it was certainly a great opportunity for him to "blow out a few cobwebs" ahead of the upcoming 2021-22 season, all of course assuming that the pandemic won't further impinge on the sporting world in the months ahead.

Regardless, current national MX1 No.2 Cooper was determined to begin his season positively and, with eight holeshots from eight starts in his senior grade racing on Sunday, he certainly ticked that box.

He did have a fight on his hand dealing with fellow Kiwi international Maximus Purvis, the young man from Mangakino actually leading Cooper by three points after the three 15-minute races.

Purvis compiled a 2-2-1 score-card to Cooper's 1-2-2 and there really was little to separate the two men on the track. Napier's Tommy Watts was third each time.

But then came the series of knockout sprint races and that's where Cooper ruled supreme as each time he blasted his Honda CRF450 into the front right from the start and from there he never looked back.

Cooper won each of the remaining five races to capture the overall MX1 class victory.

"It's a good feeling to come out in top this early in the season," said Cooper afterwards. "I have not been riding a lot lately, not since I hurt my elbow at a club day here about three weeks ago.

"Max is riding well and his speed is good, but the experience I have makes me look out more for the tough bits on the track and not push there too hard.

"I'm happy with the bike and my starts were great ... I holeshot every race. I had great support here from my old mechanic Craig Guy and from (my girlfriend) Kirri too.

"I don't know what might be my next big race. Anything these days is welcome. The pandemic could be a problem, but if racing happens, it happens and I'm feeling in good form."

Meanwhile, Cooper's Motul Honda team-mate, Tauranga's Roma Edwards, won the women's grade races that were run on Saturday. Edwards finished 1-2-1 to take the women's trophy ahead of Mount Maunganui's Zara Gray (who finished 2-1-2 in the three races).

The 19-year-old Edwards recently relocated from Nelson to Tauranga, "chasing some tougher competition in the North Island", and she certainly struck some of that at the weekend, with Gray, Hastings rider Halle Cox and Palmerston North's Hannah Powell keeping her honest.

"I'm really gelling with the new Honda and looking forward to racing the 2022 models when they arrive in the country," said Edwards, who works part-time at a day care centre.

Other senior class winners on Sunday were Mount Maunganui's Josiah Natzke (MX2); New Plymouth's Rian King (125cc); Whakatane's Darren Capill (MX3 and veterans over-45 years); Masterton's Johnny Burkhart (veterans 35-44 years).

Junior class winners on Saturday were Morrinsville's Jared Hannon (14-16 years 250cc class and 15-16 years 125cc class); Tauranga's Jack Coleman (12-14 years 125cc class); Invercargill's Seth Morrow (12-16 years 85cc class); Oropi's Levi Townley (8-11 years 85cc class); Tokoroa's Levi Rodgers (8-11 years Pro 65cc class).

Credit: Words and photos by Andy McGechan,

© Scoop Media

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