Cop­pins takes a con­vinc­ing lead

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By ANDY McGECHAN

Skills and ex­pe­ri­ence gained dur­ing 15 years of rac­ing in Europe helped Josh Cop­pins to vic­tory in the first round of the New Zealand Su­per­cross Cham­pi­onships in Toko­roa on Satur­day.

The event was be­ing held in De­cem­ber for the first time af­ter re­vis­ing the su­per­cross cal­en­dar.

Cop­pins, from Motueka, won the open class in wet and tricky con­di­tions.

Cop­pins seemed out-of-sorts in the lead-up to the night’s three cham­pi­onship points races but said af­ter­wards he was ‘‘ just get­ting the bike di­alled-in’’.

‘‘It took me the early qual­i­fy­ing races to work out I needed to ride in a higher gear,’’ he said. ‘‘I was wheel­spin­ning at the start and in the tight cor­ners but once I worked out that third-gear starts would work I was away.’’

Cop­pins had his work cut out in the first of his three races and was forced to set­tle for run­ner-up spot be­hind his Yamaha team-mate Hay­den Clark of Hamil­ton.

Cop­pins won the next two in con­vinc­ing style to emerge as the round win­ner at the end of the night. Christchurch’s Justin McDon­ald was sec­ond over­all and Mount Maun­ganui’s Cody Cooper third.

In the Lites class Queen­stown’s Scott Columb showed re­mark­able courage to bat­tle through the pain bar­rier and win the night.

‘‘I crashed my bike about a week ago,’’ he said. ‘‘I was in a heap of pain.

‘‘ But I dug deep and man­aged to win the night here. That’s good,’’ he said.

The top ju­nior class rider in Toko­roa was Levin’s James An­der­son, ahead of an­other South Is­lan­der, Ran­giora’s Micah McGoldrick (KTM), and Ati­a­muri’s Dion Pi­card.

The sec­ond of four rounds in the se­ries is sched­uled for Taupo on Jan­uary 2.

Cop­pins’ MXDK Rock­star Yamaha team boss Dar­ryll King was thrilled with the out­come.

‘‘I was stoked to see Hay­den win a moto but he cooked him­self beat­ing Josh and couldn’t re­ally re­cover,‘‘ he said.

‘‘In races two and three Josh showed what a true cham­pion he is and demon­strated some su­perb rid­ing skills.’’ Mr Hill said groups were con­gre­gat­ing in the park on Fri­days to drink and po­lice were reg­u­larly called to the park af­ter fights had oc­curred or com­plaints had been re­ceived from neigh­bours.

Mr Hill said sport or­gan­is­ers pro­vided li­censed fa­cil­i­ties at the venue for play­ers to drink in and, if a liquor ban was in place, any­one drink­ing out­side that li­censed area could be re­moved be­fore po­ten­tial prob­lems arose.

How­ever, the coun­cil will not con­sult the pub­lic un­til af­ter its next meet­ing in Jan­uary. Pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion will take a month, af­ter which hear­ings will be held. Any changes to the liquor ban rules will then take sev­eral more weeks to be im­ple­mented so any rule change may not be in place un­til March.

Deputy Mayor Jenny Shat­tock told the coun­cil even if the pro­posed bans were re­leased for con­sul­ta­tion af­ter Thurs­day’s meet­ing they would not be in place be­fore the hol­i­days.

The coun­cil had been crit­i­cised for seek­ing con­sul­ta­tion dur­ing the Christ­mas pe­riod so she ar­gued it would be prefer­able to wait un­til 2011. Most coun­cil­lors agreed to wait to start con­sul­ta­tion.

Photo: ANDY McGECHAN, Bike­

FULL FLIGHT: Josh Cop­pins took two wins and a sec­ond to win the Toko­roa round of the na­tional su­per­cross cham­pi­onships.

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