What better way is there to celebrate the final race of a professional career spanning nearly 20 years than by winning another trophy?
Motueka's Josh Coppins (CDR Racing Yamaha YZ450F) wrapped up the Australian Motocross Championships at the 10th and final round at Coolum, in Queensland, on Sunday by again standing on the top step of the MX1 podium.
And that is a lofty view he has grown used to over the years, the Yamaha ace enjoying a sparkling professional career in Europe, twice racing to the No 2 spot in the world motocross championships, as well as claiming national titles in New Zealand, Belgium and Britain along the way.
Now he has the Australian MX1 crown to place in his jam-packed trophy cabinet.
“I'm just happy it's all over, to be honest,” father-of three Coppins said.
“Now I can relax and enjoy the win with the team.
“I was nervous at the start of the day. I was leading this championship by 18 points going into the final round last year but lost it. This year, I was 14 points in front.
“I've got a television show to do now and then head back to England to prepare for the Motocross of Nations. I just have to get the Motocross of Nations out of the way now and I'll be officially retired from racing.
“It would be nice for New Zealand to be at the pointy end of the field in Belgium and we'll just have to see how that pans out.
“I've had a great time here in Australia and my only regret is that I didn't come back even earlier from Europe to race here. I've enjoyed my time here; I've enjoyed working with CDR Yamaha. It has been great.
“I just really want to say thanks to them for giving me the opportunity and also it looks like we are going to be continuing and doing stuff with Yamaha in the future, together with Craig [Dack] in Australia, with Yamaha in New Zealand and even in Europe.”
In fact, two of three Australian national motocross titles are now in New Zealand hands after the Australian championship series wound up at Coolum.
While South Islander Coppins won the MX1 crown, Mangakino's Kayne Lamont took the Motocross Development Under-19 title away with him back across the Tasman.
Both Coppins and Lamont now prepare for the upcoming annual Motocross of Nations, the “Olympic Games of motocross” set for Lommel in Belgium in less than a month.
At that event, they will become team-mates, joined by Mt Maunganui's Cody Cooper, to form the three-rider Team New Zealand.
- © Fairfax NZ News