Tuesday, July 13


There has perhaps never been such a comprehensive win at the big Tarawera 100 dirt bike endurance race as was witnessed at this year’s edition, near Whakatane on Saturday.

Cody Cooper (MotoGB Suzuki RM-Z450) enjoyed a thrilling start-to-finish win at this 33rd annual running of the great race, leaping to the lead before the 218-rider field had even reached the first corner … and he never looked back from there.

The Mount Maunganui rider stretched his lead over Waitakere’s Shaun Fogarty to nearly two minutes by the end of the first of four 38-kilometre laps, raced over steep and undulating farmland at the tiny settlement of Te Teko.

Cooper rode flawlessly over his 152-kilometre journey and was never threatened over the gruelling race that lasted near three hours.

By race end, Cooper was more than three minutes in front of Fogarty, with last year’s Tarawera 100 champion, Cambridge’s Damien King, taking third place, another minute further back.

“The bike was so crisp. I skidded off the start and I thought I wouldn’t get away cleanly, but then it hooked up and that was that,” said Cooper.

“I have not raced this event in a few years – not since I won here in 2007 – but had nothing else to do this weekend and I do so much enjoy racing here,” said the 26-year-old.

“I wanted to be able to cruise a bit over the last lap, so that meant I had to do some work early on and build a bit of a buffer. That’s why I sprinted so much after the start. I knew I needed to get a bit of a gap on Fogarty and, besides that, I didn’t want to show him where I was going.”

Cooper heads back across the Tasman this coming weekend where he will tackle the next round of the Australian Motocross Championships. He is currently running sixth in the MX1 class in Australia.

Napier cross-country hero Lance O’Dea (Suzuki) finished eighth overall and was the top rider aged under-19, finishing ahead of Whakatane riders Conrad Edwards and Peter Smit in that race-within-a-race.

Source: Suzuki NZ. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com