-- New Zealand Motocross Championships – South Canterbury – Round 1
MotoCity Belray Suzuki’s Cody Cooper has taken out the opening round of the New Zealand Motocross Championships ahead of JCR Yamaha’s Billy Mackenzie and Motorex KTM Racing Team’s Kirk Gibbs while Gibbs’ teammate Todd Waters scored fifth after a dnf.
Honda’s Ben Townley qualified fastest ahead of Cooper, Gibbs, Waters and McKenzie, before going on to win a hotly contested first moto from Cooper and Waters, with just three seconds separating the trio. Gibbs was 15 seconds further back with McKenzie a further 20 seconds in arrears.
The second moto saw the Motorex KTM Racing Team KTM450 SX-F of Gibbs surge to the front, while Townley crashed out on the first lap and was taken from the track in an ambulance. Gibbs then had a small fall dropping him back to eighth, while Waters charged hard to recover from a bad start, making his way right through to second to challenge Cooper for the lead, only for his sub-frame bolts to break and the seat assembly to begin flapping.
Without missing a beat, Waters demonstrated his fitness and rode to the end of the race, standing the whole way, but he would not be rewarded for the effort, as the bike faltered and stopped with just half a lap to go.
“The flapping rear sub frame damaged some wires and the bike stopped,” said Team Manager Rob Twyerould, “we were unable to find the problem at first, so we swapped in a complete wiring harness and only just got him onto the line for Moto 3 at the last possible minute.”
Cooper took the win from Gibbs who recovered from his fall and pushing right through to second, passing McKenzie on a thrilling last lap.
The final moto of the day saw McKenzie holeshot with Gibbs hot on his heels and Waters back in fourth, but the Queenslander was in no mood to be denied and quickly worked through to McKenzie, before passing and pulling away to win from McKenzie, Cooper and Gibbs.
The result gave Cooper the overall on 67, with McKenzie and Gibbs both 58 (McKenzie second from a higher final moto finish). Fourth was Justin MacDonald on 49, with Waters fifth on 45.
Todd Waters: “The guys are super-fast over here on their own tracks so to race with them at this time of the year is really good for us. The team is pulling together really well and it’s good to sort things out before going into the motocross nationals. I’m currently sitting fifth with a DNF which is pretty good, and I hope to get more wins. The tracks are awesome and great experience for me since I’m aiming for Europe.”
Kirk Gibbs: “It’s great to going over here early and get the feet wet, and these tracks are wild with big, long, fast straights and lots of fourth, fifth gear wide open stuff. I need to work on my starts a little bit, staying a bit smoother in the first couple of laps. My last lap Moto 2 was my quickest of the whole moto. I had to close 1-2 seconds in that last lap and I put a pretty aggressive move on Billy. The boys he was all over me trying different lines trying to get around me before the line. It was good fun.”
Results, New Zealand Motocross Championships Rd.1, South Canterbury
Qualifying: 1. B. Townley, 2. C. Cooper, 3. K. Gibbs (KTM), 4. T. Waters (KTM), 5. B. McKenzie
Moto 1: 1. Townley, 2. Cooper, 3. Waters, 4. Gibbs, 5. McKenzie
Moto 2: 1. Cooper, 2. Gibbs, 3. McKenzie, 4. McDonald, 5. Daryl Hurley
Moto 3: 1. Waters, 2. McKenzie, 3. Cooper, 4. Gibbs, 5. Justin McDonald
MX1 Points after Round 1 of 4: 1. Cody Cooper 67 Pts. 2. Bily MacKenzie 58 Pts. 3. Kirk Gibbs 58 Pts. 4. Justin McDonald 49 Pts. 5. Todd Waters 45 Pts. 6. Daryl Hurley 43 Pts. 7. Jared Guthrie 42 Pts. 8. Nick Saunders 40 Pts. 9. Jesse Donnelly 33 Pts. 10. Mason Wilkie 28 Pts. 11. James Ainsworth 27 Pts. 12. Ben Townley 25 Pts.
There is no love lost between Scott Column and Darryl King and the Kiwi stars battled hard all day to start the 2013 in the best possible way to finish first and second at the opening round of the MX2 Championship. Look for sparks between these two throughout the series.
Aussies Brock Winston and Jesse Dobson made the trek over the pond and put in solid rides to be sitting third and fifth in the championship.
MX2 Points after Round 1 of 4: 1. Scott Columb 72 Pts. 2. Darryll King 62 Pts. 3. Brock Winston 61 Pts. 4. Rhys Carter 49 Pts. 5. Jesse Dobson 47 Pts. 6. Micah McGoldrick 41 Pts. 7. Peter Broxholme 40 Pts. 8. John Phillips 38 Pts. 9. Kieran Scheele 35 Pts. 10. Cameron Dillon 34 Pts.
Round 2 of the New Zealand motocross championships will be held at Patetonga in two weekends time.
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