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Woodville First-Timer Steals The Thunder

 

FEBRUARY 1, 2016: It may have been Australian Dean Ferris' first experience of the New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville, but what an experience that was.

The Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing Team rider became the 28th different rider to win the main trophy at the weekend's 55th running of the iconic stand-alone event, winning Sunday's feature race by just a few a bike-lengths from New Zealand MX1 champion Cody Cooper, the man from Mount Maunganui who is also a two-time former Woodville champion.

It sets up Ferris nicely for his first major hit-out of the summer when he tackles the MX1 class in the four-round New Zealand Motocross Championships series that kicks off at Pleasant Point, near Timaru, next weekend.

The 25-year-old Ferris, from Kyogle in New South Wales, said it was "very special" to win the Woodville GP.

"I had only ever heard of this event once before coming here and that was because of that crazy river race. Now I realise what a big deal it is. It's great to start the year too by shaking out the cobwebs at such a big race as this.

"It's great to begin my build-up for the New Zealand and Australian nationals coming up.

"It's fantastic to be back on Yamaha and I have really appreciated all the guidance I have had from (Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing team boss, Kiwi former GP star, former Woodville winner and former New Zealand and Australian champion) Josh Coppins.

"It's awesome to work with Josh. We've done a lot of work together and that will continue at his Motueka base this week. I used to race against Josh and I have a lot of respect for him.

"I'm not at my peak yet. I'm just warming up."

Ferris put the distinctive anniversary-yellow Yamaha YZ450F on the podium in every race he started on Sunday, although Cooper did win the MX1 class overall, his 1-2-2 score-card enough to edge out Ferris (2-1-3) by four points.

Ferris will face Cooper again, along with fellow Australian former GP star Todd Waters and a strong field of Kiwi internationals such as Taupo's Brad Groombridge, Mount Maunganui's Rhys Carter, Queenstown's Scott Columb, Takaka's Hamish Harwood and Hawera's Daryl Hurley when they all meet up again in Timaru this coming Sunday.

If Ferris can find the same sort of pace as a first-timer at Timaru that he did as a Woodville rookie, then Cooper's reign as New Zealand champion will certainly be under threat.

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, Workshop Graphics, Motoseat, Hammerhead, SKF, Vertex Pistons, Rtech Plastics, Etnies, Biketranz and Fulton Hogan.

Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com