Motocross

Australia claims the Oceania Motocross Championship

Author: Garry Morrow

Posted:

Australia has snatched back the Oceania Motocross Championship from reigning champions New Zealand at Geelong's Barrabool motocross circuit over the weekend after consistent results from it's lower order riders saw the home country take a narrow 16 point win (Australia 327 to New Zealand 309).
Brett Metcalfe was so fast he finished third in the Open and Lite classes grand final behind Coppins and Weigand, and that was from tenth position. Photo: Garry Morrow
With Barrabool looking a million dollars and a large enthusiastic crowd on hand the two headline International competitors gave a dazzling display of speed and professionalism. World number two Josh Coppins showed the opposition no mercy aboard his actual GP CRF450 race bike as he won qualifying, racing, and all challenges in the Pro Open to be the shining light for New Zealand. In the Pro Lites US based Aussie Brett Metcalfe blitzed all comers on what started out as the Yamaha magazine test bike, but with Metcalfe aboard was simply transformed into a rocket ship. Despite losing a lot of talent in the days before the event - riders such as Shayne King, Luke Burkhart and Cody Cooper electing not to compete - Coppins proved the ultimate captain for New Zealand for his young chargers, which he proved with an uplifting speech to his team before proceedings. "We had a lot of young riders on the New Zealand team and they put up a great fight ‰ÛÒ we certainly did not get smoked. The loss for our experienced riders was in the end the young guys gain and to have the experience of racing at a track like Barrabool is awesome". he said. From the Australian point of view what started out as a very apathetic view of the Oceania concept from riders in the lead up weeks was turned around by the end of th day to a day of pride in their victory as a large crowd stayed to watch the presentation ceremonies.
Tim Weigand is one fast American and although not in contention for Oceania points took second overall. Photo: Garry Morrow
"It was an honour to captain the Australian team," said a delighted Brett Metcalfe. "The whole team performed really well and it was really great to be back here at Barrabool, riding in front of my friends and family for the first time since 2001". In the Pro Open class visiting American Tim Weigand (Bloodshot Inc/LJ Hooker Honda) was the only one to even get close to Coppins but as a non point scorer for the Oceania challenge his great ride to second overall in the Pro Open outright was not recorded for either team. Team No Fear Honda's Craig Anderson was the best Australian but did have a task ahead of him having just come of the Australian supercross season where he had been belting out laps on the two stroke CR250 for months, an injury to his leg, and debuting a new bike in the 2006 Honda CRF450R also hampered his normal speed. Having said that though he was not far of the pace and his efforts on the day where outstanding. "it was a great day", said Anderson. "Its been a long year but I was happy with today and it was great to go up against Josh just to see where we are at as far as world championship speed goes"
Kiwi Scott Columb (104) showed Lewis Stewart some old school riding in the shootout with some ALA Bob Hannah moves. Photo: Garry Morrow
CDR/Nokia/Yamaha's Cheyne Boyd and Motorex KTM's Daniel McCoy where two big revelations in the Pro Open with Boyd easily fourth fastest all day until a nasty crash where he rung his bell and received some nasty scrapes put him out of the running in the second moto. McCoy, normally a Pro Lite rider came to grips with the SX450 in no time and was simple flying and by far the most spectacular rider on the track. His efforts came to naught in the second moto as well after his engine let go in a big way. For the Kiwi's Damien King and Corrie Sargent held their heads high with King's fourth in moto two being the best result from the New Zealander's besides Coppins white wash. With two races going on in one, the race for the Oceania and the race for overall victory, King was awarded third in the Oceania which was a great effort. "My confidence was not so good at the start of the day ‰Û_ with a new bike on a new track ‰Û_ but I was starting to gel with the bike by the end of it all". "I had a big crash on the last lap of the final race but still managed to finish fifth. The bike‰Ûªs pretty forgiving." King said.
Troy Dorron about to set sail in front of his home crowd, he lost this moto on the last lap to Metcalfe. Photo: Garry Morrow
Brett Metcalfe didn't disappoint the large partisan crowd with his demolition of the Pro Lites, but he did not have it all his own way and luckily for the crowd had to overcome horrendous starts for his victories. Young Ararat charger Lewis Stewart let loose on the baking Barrabool hillsides as he lead the talent packed field in the opening stanza only to succumb to Metcalfe who chased him down in the closing laps, he also repeated the feat in the second moto, but a tangle saw him finish 8th, by the end of the day everyone knew who Lewis Stewart was. Australian Pro lite main stays Troy Dorron (Team No Fear Honda) and Cameron Taylor (Serco Yamaha) where also in the thick of it. Taylor's third in the first moto and gusty come back after a scary crash in the second moto being invaluable to Australia's result. Dorron lead the second moto and provided the most excitement for the day as Metcalfe closed in on him. It took until the last lap for Metcalfe to chase down the local favourite but the race was a highlight of the day. Suzuki mounted Kiwi Scott Columb was a revelation with a fourth and third, his "take no prisoners" style of riding was a breath of fresh air in the world of politically correct riding. Nick Saunders, Justin McDonald and Blake Gillard acquitted themselves well for the Kiwi's. In the juniors, Kawasaki's Brad Groombridge took the double win and the days overall for New Zealand whilst Team Australia's Honda rider Joel Passlow finished second. BTX Motorcycles KTM rider Taylor Potter took third. In the womens it was all 17-year-old Katherine Prumm. Prumm is undoubtedly the fastest woman this country has seen for a long time and her speed would have had a few guys in the Pro Lites looking at her rear end. Prumm's Kiwi compatriot Nikki Scott helped New Zealand win the womens Oceania with second place. For Australia Kristy Gillespie and Tamara Gray where the shining lights. In the Expert support race it was a Scrivens Honda Racing double with both its team riders, Mark Grove and Chase Mosig wining the lites and open respectively. What was more impressive about the wins was it was both their first race back after 6 months of the bikes.

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