Kiwi Cody Cooper has strengthened his grip on the New Zealand Motocross MX1 Championship as the series reached the halfway point at Thames Valley on Sunday.
The 2011 title winner, riding the Moto City Suzuki RM-Z450, is now 20 points clear at the top of the series after the second of four rounds at Patetonga near Morrinsville, fending off Scottish former Grand Prix hero Billy MacKenzie and Australian pair Todd Waters and Kirk Gibbs.
MacKenzie is second in the standings and the two Australians third and fourth respectively, while in fifth position is the next best of the Kiwi contingent; former national motocross and Supercross champion Daryl Hurley on the Action Suzuki RM-Z450.
Moto City Suzuki Team Manager Andrew Hardisty said: “Cody rode really well on Sunday. The bike’s suspension settings are something we are still tweaking and we didn’t have it quite right for his final race of the day, where he finished second to MacKenzie.”
In the MX2 class, Cooper’s team-mate Rhys Carter (Moto City Suzuki RM-Z250) was on the move: Carter won the day’s first MX2 race, leading home defending MX2 Champion Darryll King. But a couple of crashes in the following races cost him dearly and he finished fourth in race two and 11th in the third, placing him fourth overall for the day and moving him up the championship rankings to third.
Said Hardisty: “Rhys has the determination to succeed and, with a little more good luck, he’ll be able to move up even more over the next few races.”
The series now heads to Pukekohe on March 10th and wraps up in Taupo on March 31st.
The Moto City Suzuki team is supported by Suzuki New Zealand, Bel Ray, Pirelli, Renthal, The Dirt Guide, Taupo Diesel Solutions, BikesportNZ.com and Koromiko Engineering.
Words and Photo by Andy McGechan