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Coppins Leads Yamaha Sweep


JUNE 1, 2015: It is only on rare occasions these days that former Grand Prix motocross star Josh Coppins puts down his manager's clip-board and heads out himself to do battle on a bike.

But the weekend's iconic Michael Godfrey Memorial Motocross, near Waipara in North Canterbury, was one of those opportunities the Yamaha hero found too good to pass up.

The 38-year-old two-time former world No.2 and former New Zealand, former Australian and former British motocross champion showed he had not forgotten how to twist a throttle as he dominated the weekend in the premier MX1 (450cc) class.

Coppins finished with a 1-1-1-2-2 score-card for the two-day event, shading his Altherm JCR Racing Yamaha team-mate Ethan Martens, of Waitakere, who carded 2-2-3-3-1 results, and making it a sweet Yamaha 1-2 for the weekend.

"It was a great weekend for the whole team," said Coppins afterwards.

"We had a good representation from Yamaha right across the board. It was a bit of a last-minute decision for me to race here but it's a big event and I thought we should have some representation from the Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing Team here.

"It was tough for me because I was also trying to keep one eye on what was happening across the Tasman at the Australian Motocross Championships round in Coolum, where we had (New Zealand MX2 champion) Jay Wilson racing for us. He finished third overall on the day in the MX2 class there and is now second in the championship chase.

"I really needed my GP experience to cope with the 30-minute races here at the Michael Godfrey Memorial event. I used to suffer every weekend when I raced the GPs and so I knew what I'd be going through here too.

"I really enjoyed it though. It was good fun."

Rangiora's Micah McGoldrick won the MX2 class with a string of five wins, while Nelson's Isaac Millson took his Yamaha YZ125 to win the senior 125cc class with 3-1-1-1-1 results.

It was more Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing Team dominance in the all-in Michael Godfrey feature race as Coppins again led home Martens, with McGoldrick, Christchurch's former national MX1 champion Justin McDonald and Taupo's former national junior 125cc and 250cc champion Cohen Chase rounding out the top five.

Meanwhile, Nelson's Reece Walker and Taupo's 2015 national junior 125cc champion Wyatt Chase took their Yamaha bikes to finish 1-2 in the Junior 125-250 feature race.

Walker had also earlier won the junior 14-16 years' 250cc class outright and Wyatt Chase had won the junior 12-16 years' 125cc class overall.

Matamata's Brodie Connolly won the 12-16 years' 85-150cc category.

Words and photo by Andy McGechan,