His four-rider team was very close but not quite able to produce any elusive wins in the hotly-contested MX1 and MX2 classes.
“Dylan could’ve won and should be leading. Max was pretty solid but could’ve been slightly better and Kirk could’ve been slightly better as well. Kayne did well to ride after a bad injury at Woodville but obviously his heavy bruising affected his performance on Saturday,” Coppins says.
Visiting Australian rider Kirk Gibbs has high hopes of reclaiming his 2018 New Zealand MX1 title and was determined to fight defending champion Cody Cooper hard for it on the track, at Riverside Reserve in Glasgow Street. However, the three races didn’t entirely go his way.
“Kirk went 2-2-3, with Cody Copper winning that class. Kirk is sitting second in championship 11 points behind Cody and was very fast especially in his second and third races but struggled with his starts,” Coppins says.
Sunshine Coast-based Gibbs was the first to admit that although the end result was not detrimental there are several areas he will be working on while he is back home in Australia for the three weeks between national rounds.
In the first moto, he got a bad start, which set a pattern.
“I fought back - came through the pack - had good speed and got to second. That’s all I could do. My starts let me down all weekend which I’m very disappointed about. It doesn’t look that bad on paper but I’m extremely disappointed with the end result. I wanted to go in there and have a win. I’ll come out swinging in Rotorua because I don’t want to let Cody get too far ahead or it will blow out with it being such a short series,” Gibbs wraps up.
Last year’s British Motocross MX2 Championship winner Christchurch’s Dylan Walsh, who recently signed with Ben Townley Tours and is competing as a satellite rider in the Altherm JCR Yamaha team, had the toughest, hard luck story of the four riders. After qualifying in the top position, his first race was looking promising, until a flat tyre on his Yamaha YZ250F stopped him in his tracks and resulted in a DNF.
A second in the next race restored the 22-year-old’s points tally and then repeating the same result in the third race gave him fifth overall for the day.
“I salvaged as much as I could and onto the second round,” a philosophical Walsh says.
Mangakino’s Maximus Purvis was also competing in the fiercely-contested MX2 class and after victory at the New Zealand GP at Woodville last weekend, he was aiming to grab the red plate again. Although he couldn’t repeat his winning ways, Purvis’ results set of 3-5-3 saw him on the podium with third overall - well within striking distance of early leader Josiah Natzke.
“I’m one point behind second and seven points behind first, so the points are still really close,” Purvis (19) says.
Coppins described the MX2 (250cc) class as “really intense, with a lot of up and down results.” “If Max could execute a few more things, I think he’ll be better at the next round. It was very close racing,” he says. Lamont (26) tried his best to ride after his accident last weekend, which left him with a huge haematoma. Disregarding the obvious pain of wielding his Yamaha YZ450 around the slippery track, he managed to finish fifth and then better it with a fourth.
“Race 3, I got a good start, was in third and went back to fourth after a lap or two. I was settled and riding nice and calm and easy then had a crash and landed onto my hematoma on my bottom, which sent me through the roof! So, I was only able to rotate around slowly to finish 16th,” Hamilton-based Lamont says.
“Overall I was happy with how I was doing with my injury, as it’s probably one of the hardest days I’ve had on a motorcycle! I’m just gutted about the final race, which has put me eighth in points after round one,” he adds.
Coppins praised the South Otago Motorcycle Club and Motorcycling New Zealand for running a well-organised event – the first time the southern club has ever hosted a senior nationals motocross round.
“It was great see Yamaha-supported rider Marshall Phillips, of Christchurch, finish in third place in the national 125cc class. We also had 16 riders competing in the first of two rounds in the Yamaha-sponsored YZ65 Cup class. This is where the future of the sport begins, so being able to compete with the highest level of New Zealand’s motocross riders was an inspiring experience for them. We look forward to seeing more of our YZ65 Cup youngsters competing at the final nationals round in Taupo in March,” Coppins says.
“Our Altherm JCR Yamaha riders scored a second in MX1 and a third in MX2, so we are in the hunt. We will go away over the next three weeks and work hard on improving and consolidating the team in a few areas. Then we will come back at the second round in Rotorua challenging even harder for the championship wins” Coppins concludes.