Coppins boost for Southland

18:58, Jul 01 2014
Josh Coppins
HEADING SOUTH: Motocross star Josh Coppins will visit Southland this weekend.

Internationally-renowned motocross star Josh Coppins is venturing south to inspire the next generation of Southland riders.

The former world No 2 has been enlisted by the Southland Motorcycle Club to host training sessions for its junior riders at the Sandy Point track this weekend.

Coppins, who represented New Zealand at the Motocross des Nations from 1997 until his retirement in 2012, has an extensive repertoire of experience on the global stage to share.

With the club set to host the New Zealand Mini Nationals in October, secretary Angela Blair said the timing was ideal.

"Josh is a fantastic role model and his mentoring will certainly benefit our young kids leading up to nationals - everything from riding tips to the right nutrition," she said.

The club felt it was important to invest in the minis.

"We have impressive numbers and a really high standard of mini riders coming through, which bodes well for the future, but we also have to ensure they are well supported in the sport and get the resources they need to continuing achieving."

More than 100 mini riders are expected to enter the national fixture which will be staged on the club's new purpose-built track in Otatara.

"With the mini track only just completed, this weekend is an excellent chance for Josh to teach our local riders exactly how to tackle it from the start and that will probably help with the home turf advantage when the championships roll around," Blair said.

"Sand tracks are a rarity in New Zealand and it does take a totally different riding style to master them."

Coppins will work with mini riders aged 4-11 on Friday and junior riders on Saturday. Participant will then be able to apply what they have learned at the King of the Sand event on Sunday.

Initially scheduled for June 22, the first round of King of the Sand was postponed because of wintry conditions.

"It wasn't worth risking damage to the track or any of the riders. It will be great to now race the event and I'm sure we will witness some intense racing across both the junior and senior ranks," Blair said.

Riders can enter King of the Sand on the day with the club aiming to attract large fields. The second round will be rescheduled for later in July.