Motorsport: Cooper's ride his best in series

By Colin Smith


Suzuki racer Cody Cooper (Papamoa) took the winning form he showed at the recent Tarawera 100 endurance race across the Tasman last weekend and delivered his best performance of the season to date in the Australian Motocross Nationals on Sunday.

The seventh round of the Aussie nationals at the Horsham track in Victoria saw Cooper qualify fifth fastest in the Pro Open class and he rode his Suzuki RM-Z450 to second in the opening 20-minute moto behind teammate Todd Waters.

The second moto produced Cooper's third race win for the season ahead of Honda's Brad Anderson and Waters while series leader Josh Coppins (Yamaha) claimed another Kiwi victory by winning the longer 30-minute final moto ahead of Waters and Cooper.

Cooper's 2-1-3 result matched the 1-3-2 effort by Waters for points but the Australian took the overall win on a tie-breaker - the decider being the best finishing position in moto three.

It was Cooper's best performance of the 2012 Aussie Nationals and with three rounds remaining he holds fifth place.

"It was a good day for the team and the track was awesome, but definitely tough," said Cooper.

"I really need to thank Motul Pirelli Suzuki and all of our supporters for sticking by me, because this is the result that we've been working toward. It feels good, so hopefully we can continue with these results in the final rounds."

Coppins remains the series leader with 412 points although Waters has closed in and trails by only five points. A similar battle for third sees Anderson on 380 points and Yamaha's Lawson Bopping on 375 while Cooper is within striking distance on 336 points.

The next round of the series is on July 29 at Appin in New South Wales.

Drag promoter

There's a new promoter for drag racing at Taupo Motorsport Park this summer.

Drag racing events will be promoted by Ken Galvin with assistance from Ryan Sheldon and the venue has been renamed Taupo Thunder Dragway.

Galvin has been involved with hot-rodding and drag racing for more than 40 years and is a life member of the NZ Drag Racing Association and Wheels Hot Rod Club.

He was involved in the creation of the Drag Racing Council in the early days and played a part in the creation of the rule book as well as serving as an area steward.

In recent years he has established and promoted the highly successful Kumeu Hot Rod Festival.

Sheldon brings 30 years of drag racing involvement to his new role at Taupo, having previously worked at the Thunder Park venue in Hawke's Bay and at Meremere. He has worked as a correspondent for several drag racing publications and been a crew member on leading teams.

A provisional calendar has been announced and will see the first quarter-mile action of the summer at Taupo on December 28 with a test-and-tune day followed the next day by a Nitro Nostalgia event.

The NZ Drag Racing Association Summer Nationals will be run at Taupo on January 2-3, 2013 while February 17, 2013 sees a Doorslammer Challenge and Super Sedan Shootout.

The 2013 NZDRA Nationals will be raced at Taupo on April 26-27 (a Friday-Saturday format event).

A new website is being developed for the dragstrip (www.taupothunder.co.nz) which will be launched shortly.

125cc champs

The 125cc class at the New Zealand Miniature TT Championship at Kuratau near Turangi last weekend saw young Bay of Plenty riders sweep the podium.

Te Puke teenager Logan Blackburn (Yamaha) set the pace with four wins and a second placing in the five-race 125cc contest while Katikati's Garth Amrein (Yamaha) was the other race winner and narrowly claimed runner-up honours ahead of Tauranga's Scott Barr-Smith (Honda).

Blackburn also rode in the MX2 class on a Yamaha 250 he was lent by national champion Darryll King (Hamilton) and finished second overall behind Yamaha rider Ethan Martens (Waitakere).

Blackburn posted a second, fourth, third and seventh on the 250cc machine and then led most of the fifth race until he was passed by Martens on the final lap.

The Miniature TT is a relatively smooth grass track event featuring long straights and fast corners and without the usual hazards of motocross. National titles were decided in junior, senior, veterans', women's and ATV categories.

Trail ride

The BOP Motorcycle Club has a trail ride on Saturday near Matata. The ride is on Burt's Farm at Mimiha Rd with trail tracks open from 9.30am until 3.30pm. Sign-on is from 8.30am.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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