Motocross

Coppins unbeaten at Woodville

Author: Andy McGechan

Posted:

The fun and games are over; now let the serious stuff begin. Those words were going through the minds of four Kiwi internationals as they packed away their bikes and helmets at the end of the day at the weekend‰Ûªs 47th annual New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville. Motueka‰Ûªs Josh Coppins (Yamaha), Hawera‰Ûªs Daryl Hurley (Suzuki), Mount Maunganui‰Ûªs Cody Cooper (Honda) and Pahiatua‰Ûªs Paul Whibley (Suzuki) thrilled the large crowd as they dominated racing at Woodville on Sunday but this week the men head off in different directions, each of them to face even greater challenges. Factory Yamaha rider Coppins, the world motocross No.3, was unbeaten at Woodville, although forced to fend off stern tests from Hurley and Cooper before he could claim the 500cc class honours. The 30-year-old also won the all-capacities, best-of-the-best, one-off international feature race. He will have little time to clean up his gear before he catches his flight to Belgium and a series of four international motocross meetings in different parts of Europe, more warm-up events before the 2008 world championship season kicks off in the Netherlands in April. Using Woodville as part of his build-up programme, Coppins made it many happy returns as he came back to race the popular farmland track at the eastern end of the Manawatu Gorge for the first time since 2001. ‰ÛÏI expected them (Hurley and Cooper) to be right up there with me today and I admit that, in the day‰Ûªs first race, I was stretched a bit. I am used to having more time to warm up before I race and then the races are much longer in the world championships too. ‰ÛÏThese races today were sprints for me. But that‰Ûªs good because it meant I had to go hard from the beginning. And that‰Ûªs what I need to do in Europe this year too. ‰ÛÏI‰Ûªm not yet at my peak. I need to be peaking in April, not now; and then I need to maintain that strength and speed for seven or eight months. But Woodville was a good work-out for me.‰Û

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