Tuesday, April 2


Mount Maunganui’s Cody Cooper
(Moto City Suzuki),
2013 New Zealand
MX1 motocross champion
Words and photo by Andy McGechan, BIKESPORTNZ.COM.

Suzuki riders won the day in both the main classes at the fourth and final round of this season’s New Zealand Motocross Championships in Taupo over the Easter Weekend.

Mount Maunganui's Cody Cooper was supreme in the MX1 class and Australian visitor Ryan Marmont, making only his second appearance in the series, was top of the MX2 class podium when Sunday’s racing wrapped at Taupo’s popular Digger McEwen Motocross Park facility.

With another hat-trick of wins to his credit on Sunday, it also meant the 29-year-old Cooper won the national MX1 championship, the Bay of Plenty hero regaining the coveted MX1 crown he’d last won in 2011.

The 29-year-old Cooper took his Speed Shop-prepared Moto City Suzuki RM-Z450 to finish the series an incredible 48 points ahead of the runner-up rider, Scottish former Grand Prix star Billy MacKenzie, with another international, Australian Todd Waters, rounding out the championship top-three.

Hawera Suzuki dealer Daryl Hurley also had a splendid day at Taupo on Sunday, taking his Action Suzuki RM-Z450 to elevate himself from fifth to fourth in the final standings.

"It was a tough day,” said Cooper afterwards.

"But it feels great to win this title again because the competition was so tough this year with all the overseas riders coming to race."

Cooper now prepares to mount an assault on the Australian national championships, starting in just two weeks' time, and the Suzuki star’s current form indicates he'll be a contender across the Tasman.

“The work I’ve been doing with my new personal trainer and physio (Hamilton’s John Appel) certainly paid off, but I still have more work to do before the Australian nationals kick off.”

His dominance this season has been undeniable – he won nine of the series' 12 races and finished no lower than third in the other outings.

For MX2 class rider Marmont, making just his second guest appearance on an Action Suzuki RM-Z250, it was another stunner on Sunday.

Marmont dominated the day at Taupo with 1-2-4 results in his three MX2 outings.

The 28-year-old Marmont also won the previous round of the series at Pukekohe last month but, with only half the four-round series contested, he had no chance of challenging for the title, that honour instead going to Queenstown’s Scott Columb.

“This trip to New Zealand is all about getting warmed up for the Australian series,” said Marmont. “Racing here is good training for me and I’ll have a head-start on some of my rivals in Australia.

“I had not raced at Taupo since 2006 but the bumps and jumps were all the same ... maybe just a bit rougher,” he laughed.

“Hopefully I can come across and do the whole series next year.”

Cooper’s Moto City Suzuki team-mate in the MX2 class, Mount Maunganui’s Rhys Carter, was also impressive on Sunday, finishing the day runner-up to Marmont and making it a Suzuki 1-2 for the class.

Carter finished 5-3-2 at Taupo to cement his spot at third in the championship standings and he eventually wound up just two points shy of catching the MX2 class runner-up, visiting Australian Brock Winston.

The Moto City Suzuki team is supported by Suzuki New Zealand, Bel Ray oils, Pirelli, Renthal, The Dirt Guide, Taupo Diesel Solutions, Koromiko Engineering and BikesportNZ.com.