Press Release – Bikesport NZ
HONDA HERO WINS FIVE FROM FIVE AT WHAKATANE
DECEMBER 28, 2016: Mount Maunganui’s Cody Cooper claims the big annual post-Christmas Honda Summercross motocross near Whakatane has not been good to him over the years, but he undoubtedly showed on Tuesday that he had the class, the determination and superb machinery to rise above that.
“I have not always done so well here,” said the 33-year-old national MX1 motocross champion, whose clean sweep of five wins from five starts this year made a liar out of him.
In his last ride aboard the 2016-model Honda CRF450 bike before his new 2017 version gets wheeled to the start line at the big annual Honda-sponsored New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville at the end of January, Cooper was simply unbeatable.
“I’m pretty happy with that,” he said, in classic understatement, after peeling off his gloves and helmet at the end of a scorching day of racing under blue Bay of Plenty skies.
“I knew I needed to do some work on my starting technique and, although I only holeshot two of the five races, I was always in front pretty quickly anyway.
“This has always been a weak event for me because it has so many different variables … a concrete start pad, a difficult sand track and back-to-back sprint races a unique part of the day’s programme.
“I’ve had a few minor health complaints lately too and my doctor said I probably should rest up and not ride at all. But I guess I passed the test today eh?”
Runner-up to Cooper in the premier MX1 class was fellow Mount Maunganui rider Rhys Carter (Kawasaki KX450F), with Cooper’s Honda team-mate John Phillips, of Rotorua, completing the MX1 podium.
Cooper now takes a break for a few weeks before lining up at Woodville on January 28-29.
He will then prepare to defend his national MX1 crown in the New Zealand Motocross Championships, the first of four rounds in that series set for Timaru on February 5.
Meanwhile, it was a triple whammy for the Honda camp with Cooper’s junior team-mate, Cambridge rider Trent Collins, winning on both days of competition at Summercross.
The 16-year-old Collins, in a transition stage in his racing career where he is classified as a junior but still eligible to race some senior classes, won the Youth MX class on day one at Summercross and then also dominated day two by winning all three junior 12-17 years’ 250cc class races.
“You could say it was a brilliant event for me,” said Collins. “But it wasn’t just me. So many people who worked behind the scenes should be thanked too, for ensuring I could be on top of the podium both days.”
Senior class winners on day one of the 2016 Honda Summercross near Whakatane on Tuesday were Mount Maunganui’s Cody Cooper (MX1 class); Hamilton’s Josiah Natzke (MX2); Cambridge’s Trent Collins (Youth MX); Otago’s Courtney Duncan (women’s class); Rotorua’s Cam Negus (veterans’ over-35 years); Hamilton’s Darryll King (veterans’ over-45 years); Waimauku’s Logan Dunn (MX3 support class).
Junior class winners on day two on Wednesday were Cambridge’s Trent Collins (junior 12-17 years’ 250cc class); Mangakino’s Maximus Purvis (junior 15-17 years’ 125cc class); Australia’s Adam Smerdon (junior 12-14 years’ 125cc class); Matamata’s Brodie Connolly (junior 13-16 years’ 85cc class); Australia’s Noah Smerdon (junior 11-12 years’ 85cc class); Wellsford’s Wyatt Collins (junior 8-10 years’ 85cc class); Waitoki’s Cole Davies (junior 8-11 years’ 65cc class).
Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com