The Motocross of Nations is the biggest and best motocross race of the year and once again New Zealand will have a massive presence at this ‘Olympic Games of motocross’.
In two weeks – weekend starting September 30th – the 66th edition of the great race, set this time for the deep sand of Lommel, in Belgium, and New Zealand has a team capable of impressing. The teams consists Motueka’s Josh Coppins, Mount Maunganui’s Cody Cooper and Mangakino’s Kayne Lamont.
They have as good a chance as anyone of ending the win streak of team from the United States.
There have been some great MXoN races over the years, like in 2006, when 10-time world champion Stefan Everts and Italy’s Antonio Cairoli dominated the racing at Matterley Basin, near Winchester, in south-west England. Although Team USA did enough to win the main trophy, finishing top of the podium with Team Belgium runners-up and the Team New Zealand squad in third.
New Zealand has been on the MXoN podium on three memorable occasions in recent times – at Foxhills, in England, in 1998 (with Darryll King, Shayne King, Josh Coppins), at Namur, in Belgium, in 2001 (Daryl Hurley, Josh Coppins, Shayne King) and at Matterley Basin, in England, in 2006 (Josh Coppins, Cody Cooper, Ben Townley).
With Kiwi riders increasingly taking their careers overseas, and New Zealanders regularly lining up y at Grand Prix world championship events – or even at major domestic races in countries such as Australia, England, Belgium or the United States – the likelihood of New Zealand winning the Motocross des Nations has gone from far-fetched dream to achievable reality.
That is also perhaps the case in Belgium this coming weekend with former GP hero and just-crowned Australian MX1 champion Coppins, former New Zealand and Australian champion Cooper and Kiwi domestic frontrunner and just-crowned Australian under-19 champion Lamont flying the Kiwi flag.
Words by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com
Image by Ray Chuss