Josh Coppins wins all four heats to secure MX1 title at Nelson motocross champs
Coaching may be his focus these days but former motocross Grand Prix star Josh Coppins still finds plenty of excuses to race again.
The 39-year-old won all four of his heats at the MTF Nelson Motocross Championship at MotoXpark in 88 Valley on the weekend to secure the MX1 crown, doing the business in the vets 35-44 class as well.
With the world vet motocross championships in California coming up in November, Coppins said the hometown race was the perfect opportunity for a competitive hit-out before heading overseas for five weeks with the Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing Team where his attention will switch back to mentoring.
"I need to get ready for it so I decided to enter in this race. I've been working a lot so I'm trying to get fitter and I'd prefer to ride my motorbike than do anything else," said Coppins, who couldn't remember the last time he competed at the Nelson event.
"I'm leaving for Europe for five weeks now so I won't get to ride. I always feel like I start to get somewhere and then I end up away with the team and I start back from scratch. But hopefully I'll get some consistent bike time when I get back from Europe because I feel like I'm at a pretty good place and I'm nearly back to where I need to be."
The Motueka man said he was enjoying the transition into coaching, the role as Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing Team manager keeping him busy, but he was looking forward to the return to international racing, even if it is a one-off.
"My partner, I just spoke to her about it and next minute she had booked the flights. It's been quite good because it's something for me to set my sights on and gets me off my bum and training again."
While it was a group of friends that initially suggested it, Coppins said winning is "100 per cent" his motivation for heading to California.
"I'm definitely going over there to win it - that's the plan. I don't see why I can't."
In other results from the Nelson motocross championships; Dunedin's Sam Cuthbertson took early control of the MX2 class, winning the first three heats on Saturday before rounding out the event one more victory on the weather-affected second day.
Connor Easton won the first three heats to clinch the MX3 crown, Bryan Heaphy dominated the enduro, Clayton Roeske won the competitive 15-16 125cc class and the national 125cc, Grason Veitch fought back to win the 14-16 250cc after heat one winner Bailey Banks missed the final two races and Marshall Phillips won the 12-14 125cc class.
Ben Wall edged Ben Hardy in the 13-16 85cc and 150cc four stroke class, the 8-12 85cc class was won by Cobie Bourke, Steve Lange won the first three heats to clinch the vets 45 plus title, Kimberly Murphy won all four ladies heats, and Luke Heaphy won the mini support class.