Motorsport: Coppins aims to quit with crown

By Andy McGechan

Josh Coppins raced at the British GP in 2007. Photo / Andy McGechan
Josh Coppins raced at the British GP in 2007. Photo / Andy McGechan

Motueka man in ideal position, says Andy McGechan.

Kiwi international Josh Coppins may have decided to hang up his helmet at the end of this season, but his influence on the sport will be felt for years to come.

The man from Motueka, twice runner-up and twice third in the world motocross championships in a Grand Prix career spanning nearly two decades, says he will retire from all forms of racing at the end of this season's Australian Motocross Championships.

Coppins, a multi-time New Zealand motocross and supercross champion, and winner of the big annual Woodville Motocross on five separate occasions (1996, 1999, 2000, 2008 and 2011), is leading the Australian Motocross Championships after eight of 10 rounds, ideally positioned to end his career on a well-deserved high.

The 35-year-old father of two says that would be a nice way to sign off on his racing career, "especially after having one hand on the Australian crown, but being denied" by a disastrous first-turn crash in the final round last season.

Coppins (Yamaha YZ450F) enjoys a 12-point lead over Australian rival Todd Waters (Suzuki RM-Z450) in this year's series, with the next round set for Moree, in New South Wales, on August 19. The tenth and final round will be in Coolum, Queensland, on August 26.

"After that I will retire from all racing," Coppins says. "I may do a bit of trials riding, supermoto and trail-bike riding, but no high-level stuff.

"I'm still undecided on what I will be doing after racing but I will remain working for Yamaha with motocross in New Zealand, and possibly as an adviser, trainer and test rider in Australia or Europe.

"Yamaha has been great to me and we'll sit down in the next few weeks to nail down a role for me with the company. My focus in the short term, though, is to win the Australian open class title."

Coppins began his GP career in Australia, as a 16-year-old racing the 125cc class at the Australian GP at Manjimup, in Western Australia, on August 29, 1993.

So it is perhaps fitting that his final professional race will also be in that country, hopefully wrapping up the open class title at the final round of that domestic series on August 26 - almost exactly 19 years to the day since his Manjimup appearance.

- NZ Herald

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