Josh Coppins back at Burt Munro Challenge to defend New Zealand Beach Race title

LOGAN SAVORY/FAIRFAX NZ

Beach racing at Invercargill's Oreti Beach as part of the 2015 Burt Munro Challenge.

Legendary Kiwi motocross rider Josh Coppins only has a couple of trophy's on display at his home despite a bulging CV.

The Motueka rider competed in the 11 world championships from 1999 through to 2009.

But you won't find any of his silverware from his deeds on the world stage on display. It is his haul from Invercargill's Burt Munro Challenge which takes pride of place.

Motocross legend Josh Coppins at the Burt Munro statue at Queens Park in Invercargill.
Nicole Johnstone

Motocross legend Josh Coppins at the Burt Munro statue at Queens Park in Invercargill.

The event was created following the success of the 2005 movie about Burt Munro's inspirational life - The World's Fastest Indian.

READ MORE: Dairy manager working hard to realise Burt Munro dream

The spotlight hovers just as brightly over the weekend warriors during the four day event as it does for the stars like Coppins.

Motueka's Josh Coppins.
ANDY MCGECHAN/BIKESPORTNZ.COM

Motueka's Josh Coppins.

Coppins likes it that way and it hasn't watered down the pride he has of competing and doing well at the Burt Munro Challenge.

"The guy is a legend. I don't have to tell anyone that, it's world famous.

"So to be able to try to win some of his trophies is special.

"I've got a lot of trophies and there are only a couple in my place and they are the Burt Munro ones. So that shows what it means to me."

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Coppins will be one of the stars in action at the supercross event at Winton on Thursday night.

However he will again line up for the New Zealand Beach Race title at Oreti Beach on Friday night and also the street race in Invercargill on Sunday.

Last year was the first year Coppins took on the beach race and despite playing down his chances before it he took out the title.

Coppins was looking forward to try to defend the title and to line up in a couple of other events during the Burt Munro Challenge.

"If you are coming down for one you might as well make the most of it. I've got enough bikes so why not," he said.

"I didn't really know what to expect [in the beach race] last year, so hopefully I'll do my best again this year and hopefully it goes good."

While Coppins is officially retired with his main focus now coaching the 39-year-old has spent a lot of time on the bike of late.

More time on the bike compared to leading into last year's Burt Munro Challenge.

It has included winning the New Zealand Veterans Motocross Championship and finishing second in the World Veterans Motocross Championship in California.

For Coppins though it is his work with Otago's Courtney Duncan on the world stage which is the most important assignment.

Coppins' coached the Otago rider this year as she took on the World Women's Motocross Championships.

"To be back at the world stage level again is great.

"I left that in 2009 and to be honest I thought I'd never be going back and six or seven years I'm back with a team which is quite a cool feeling."

Coppins arrived in Southland on Tuesday and held a coaching day for supercross riders in Winton.

Last year's New Zealand Supercross Championships in Winton, which is part of the Burt Munro Challenge, had to be called off because of wind.

Coppins has his fingers crossed he can take to the track this year.

"Hopefully the weather is a bit better this year.

"The wind is the worse thing we can have for that event. Rain you can work with but wind gets pretty tricky."

BURT MUNRO CHALLENGE
Thursday
New Zealand Hill Climb Championships at Bluff Hill, 10am.
New Zealand Supercross Championships at Ryan Rd, Winton, 6pm.
Friday
New Zealand Beach Race Championships at Oreti Beach, 5pm.
Saturday
Teretonga Circut Races at Teretonga, 9am.
Oreti Park Speedway Spectacular, at Pit Rd, 4pm.
Sunday
Invercargill Street Races, Bill Richardson Dr, 11am. 

 

 - Stuff

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