Mount Maunganui's Cody Cooper is showing top form and proving he means business.
The Honda star was in scintillating form at the weekend's annual King of the Mountain Motocross in Taranaki, which is one of the last major outings before the four-round 2019 New Zealand Motocross Championships season gets under way.
Cooper (Alpinestars Motul Honda CRF450) showed up at the Barrett Road Motocross Park, on the outskirts of New Plymouth, for Sunday's senior racing – the steep and tricky track already well battered from having the juniors race there on Saturday – and he wasted no time in pushing for glory in the premier MX1 category.
It was vital that he did just that because this track is the host venue for round one of the nationals on February 3, knowing a good performance would set him up nicely for his New Zealand title bid.
The six-time former national MX1 champion finished a close runner-up in the opening MX1 clash of the day on Sunday, crossing the finish line just 1.6 seconds behind fellow Mount Maunganui man Rhys Carter, but he cleared away in the next two races to register a 2-1-1 scorecard for the weekend and claim the outright class win for the King of the Mountain (KoM).
"It was a harder day than I expected. I wasn't getting the good starts that I normally do," confessed Cooper.
"Each time we changed something for the starts and, in the end, it worked out.
"This track is very hard to pass on. You'd get close to making a pass, but then you'd get roosted and lose all that ground again. I need to do some more practice on my starts.
"But I'm happy with the overall result today and I'm looking forward to coming back here for the nationals."
All of this followed on from Cooper's MX1 class win at the annual post-Christmas Honda Summercross at Whakatane.
Cooper's next assignment before the nationals is the big annual New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville this weekend.
Then it's into the business of trying to reclaim the national No 1 plate, Cooper now well set up for a return to Barrett Road on February 3, followed by rounds in Rotorua on February 17, then Pukekohe on February 24 and, finally, the nationals wrap up at Taupō on March 10.
Meanwhile, Cooper's Alpinestars Motul Honda teammate, Taupō man Wyatt Chase, took his Honda CRF250 to finish the KoM weekend runner-up in the MX2 (250cc) class, behind Mangakino's Maximus Purvis, the overall win slipping from Chase's grasp when he crashed while leading the final and deciding MX2 race of the weekend.
- Supplied content