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15 Feb 2017
The privilege of rank can be a double-edge sword sometimes, that authority allowing the freedom to indulge oneself on occasion, but it also includes the tyranny of having to take responsibility for the welfare of others.
Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing Team manager Josh Coppins has recently experienced both extremes.
The "boss" was back in action at the weekend, Coppins showing he wasn't the sort of man who'd ask his riders to do anything he wouldn't or couldn't do himself when he took one of his Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing Team YZ450F bikes out of the truck to indulge in a little racing himself, lining up to tackle the popular annual Golden Nuggets Motocross, at Ikamatua, inland from Greymouth, on the South Island's West Coast.
Motueka man Coppins is only an infrequent racer these days. He is typically instead more concerned at most major events with getting the most from his young riders, mentoring them and ensuring they have the tools and support to get the job done on the race track.
But the 39-year-old former world championships Grand Prix star is also not one to shy away from the challenge of riding and he jumped at the opportunity at the weekend.
It was probably a foregone conclusion that he would dominate his races, and with five wins from five starts, as well as winning the all-capacities feature race, he put that well beyond doubt, although modestly down-playing his own performance.
He won the senior King of the Nuggets feature race by a massive 30 seconds from Rangiora's Cody Murphy (Yamaha YZ250F).
"It was more of a family motocross I felt than anything else really," said Coppins.
"I was a chance for me not to have to worry about managing my riders and it gave me a chance to have some fun for myself.
"There were about 350 riders there and it was a good chance for the team to be able to turn up and support other riders.
"The last motocross event I rode was probably the Veterans' World Championships in Glen Helen (in the United States) in November and I also rode a super motard version of this bike at another event recently.
"I felt I rode pretty well and that's good because I have aspirations of also racing a little bit overseas this year. I will be travelling with Otago's Courtney Duncan as she tackles the Women's Motocross World Championships and there will be several opportunities for me to race also at some lesser events."
Meanwhile, this has also led to a tough decision being made by Coppins, acting as team manager.
He has withdrawn MX2 (250cc) class rider Duncan from the remainder of the New Zealand Motocross Championships, the second of four rounds which is set for Rotorua this Sunday.
"She has been dealing with a few niggling injuries lately and so the decision was made this week that she should focus her attention on the world championships.
"She is now 100 percent focussed on the first round of that series (set for Indonesia on March 5).
"I'm not sure at this stage what other New Zealand events she might do, if any.
"As a team, we will continue to target New Zealand titles at the nationals, with (Australian rider) Dean Ferris and (Mangakino's former national champion) Kayne Lamont. We still have Waitakere's Ethan Martens racing in the MX2 class too.
"There is only a certain amount of time and budget that we can spend on these things and we have to allocate to the areas that are most important to us."
There is no reason why Coppins' riders can't collect New Zealand titles this season and, fingers crossed, Duncan will rise up to claim the world title that she was so frustratingly denied in her debut season in Europe last year.
Although at that time the "new kid on the block", Duncan stamped her authority and won five of the 14 races of the 2016 world series, more than any other individual, and this was even after she had been able to start only nine of the races because of an injury, one that she was not in any way responsible for.
She'll be out to rectify that, starting next month.
The Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing team is supported by Altherm Window Systems, Yamaha, JCR, CRC, Ados, GYTR, Yamalube, Fox Racing, Hollands Collision Centre, Star Moving, Ward Demolition, Fulton Hogan, Pirelli, FMF, DID, NGK, Matrix, Renthal, Motomuck, [www.workshopgraphics.co.nz]www.workshopgraphics.co.nz, Motoseat, Hammerhead, SKF, Vertex Pistons, Rtech Plastics, Etnies, Biketranz and Fulton Hogan.