February 27, 2023: Bay of Plenty’s Cody Cooper is going from strength to strength with his 2023 national motocross championships campaign.
Nobody would call him a greedy man, but the 39-year-old multi-time former national champion from Papamoa wants to keep adding to his bulging trophy cabinet and there’s no reason to suggest he might not even collect a couple more pieces of silverware before the year is out.
The Bridgestone Kawasaki Racing Team rider has been busy over the past few months, starting with his win in the premier MX1 class at the MX Fest extravaganza at Taupo’s 2022-23 season opener in late October.
He backed that up by easily winning his men’s 35-39 year’s class at the 2022 New Zealand Veterans’ and Women’s Motocross Championships near Cambridge just a week later.
Cooper then dominated the Waikato Motocross Championships series in December, this time opting to also race a 250cc version of his four-stroke Kawasaki and this time he comfortably won both the MX1 and MX2 categories.
That’s a mighty impressive build-up to the 2023 New Zealand Senior Motocross Championships and now, halfway through that series, he finds himself running away with the MX2 title and within strike range of clinching the MX1 class title as well.
The second round of four in the nationals was held at Horohoro, just south of Rotorua on Sunday and there he went on the charge again with his Kawasaki KX250.
He won two out of his three MX2 (250cc) races and finished third in the other at Horohoro on Sunday and, added to his hat-trick of wins at the series opener at Balclutha, in Southland, two weeks earlier, he has further enhanced his position at the top of the standings.
With five wins from six starts thus far, he is now 25 points clear of his nearest challenger, Oparau’s James Scott, with just two rounds at Taupo remaining, and this means – with 25 points on offer for a race win – he already has a full race up his sleeve.
The former national MX1 champion took his Kawasaki KX450 to line up also in MX1 class at Horohoro on Sunday and was back into familiar territory when he won the opening race of the day.
It was his first MX1 class race win of the series but, added to his solid podium finish in this class at Balclutha, he has moved up to now be just two points shy of the overall runner-up spot.
Mangakino’s Maximus Purvis leads the MX1 class by 10 points from Aucklander Hamish Harwood, with Cooper, figuratively speaking, nipping at Harwood’s rear wheel.
“I have the speed to win in both classes, but I am suffering a little bit with fatigue. Doing two classes is hard, although it does mean I’m fresh with knowledge about the how the track is changing between races. There are pluses and minuses with this.
“I always wanted to do two classes and I’m really loving the 250 bike, so I’m glad I’m riding it.
“I’ve got a month now before the final two rounds at Taupo, so I’ve got a bit of time to work more on my body, getting fitter.
“I feel I have made some great steps forward since my racing at Balclutha and I love the track at Taupo, so I’m feeling quite positive. My starts let me down a bit today, but I always seem to start well at Taupo, so that has me feeling positive too.”
Cooper, his fellow Bridgestone Kawasaki Racing Team riders and all the other title hopefuls are preparing now for the final phase of the nationals, a tough two days back-to-back in Taupo, round three of the series on Saturday, March 25, and the fourth and final round on the same turf the following day.
2023 New Zealand Motocross Championships:
- Round one: February 12 – South Otago (at Balclutha);
- Round two: February 26 – Rotorua (including women’s nationals);
- Round three: March 19 – Hastings (including women’s nationals);
- Round four: March 26 – Taupo (including women’s nationals).
Credit: Words by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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