MotoOnline.com.au speaks to CDR Yamaha's Josh Coppins about his recent Appin performance and announcement.
CDR Yamaha’s Josh Coppins came into Appin’s round eight of the Monster Energy MX Nationals series knowing full well that he would be announcing his future in the sport of professional motocross racing.
The New Zealand native, ahead of a crowd filled with media and fans, announced he would hang up his boots at the end of the 2012 motocross series after years of racing at the top level in our sport.
With the weight off his shoulders and the announcement out in the open, Coppins went on the dominate the third and final moto of the day, sealing the MX1 overall in dominant fashion.
MotoOnline.com.au caught up with the current premier class points leader to get his take on the event and his big announcement.
On the weekend you obviously got that win at Appin, which was a real special one for you on the day that you announced your official retirement. Overall it was a great weekend for you…
Yeah, it was. It was good to win, people that know me know that I wont give up anyway, but it was good to announce my retirement then go out with a win.
I showed that I’m ready to fight to the end for the championship, and fight to the end of my career as well, also it was good for Yamaha and all of my sponsors.
Going into the event you obviously knew that you were going to announce your retirement at lunch time. Did it feel like a relief that you had that out of the way and you could go and focus on that final moto?
Yeah, when I was in Europe with my family [during the mid-season break], I decided then that I’d had enough. It was kind of affecting me from Murray Bridge onwards and when I got back from Europe I just wanted to get it out in the open.
I was getting some opportunities to go back and race in England and Dacka [Craig Dack] was still talking about possibly doing another year. People were asking me and I felt like I was kind of lieing to them a little bit.
I knew in my mind what I was going to do, so I just wanted to get it out in the open and just wanted everyone to know where they stood.
I felt more comfortable with it too, so it was a bit of a weight lifted off my shoulders to get it out and everyone knows where they stand now.
Looking back to Horsham, you won that final moto there, and it seems like you took a lot from that win. It was straight up head-to-head with Todd Waters, and again this weekend it was you two at the front overall. It’s been an interesting battle between you two.
Yeah it has, you know I think that it’s quite similar to last year. We started off with a lot of different winners, then it got down to four of us and in the end it came down to just Jay [Marmont] and myself.
Dean [Ferris] and Billy [Mackenzie] sort of fell away at that point and it’s a little bit similar here now. Coming into Appin it was Brad [Anderson], Todd, myself and also Lawson [Bopping].
Lawson sort of fell away a little bit and Brad had a few problems at Appin, so it’s kind of now down really to Todd and myself. So looking back now, obviously that one on one, head-to-head race in the final moto at Horsham was important.
It was important for me to get a win because it had been a long time since I had won a moto. I’d been struggling, in Europe I didn’t get the six weeks preparation that I needed, and I knew that.
From then on I came in on the back foot. I’ve been working hard since I got back to New Zealand to rectify that and it started to pay of in that race – especially in those conditions which are the kind that really suit him.
To be able to win that final race was important for me, important for the championship and it was kind of me stamping my authority a bit that I’m going to fight for this.
The Appin round is one that you won last year, and you’ve backed it up again this year. It’s probably a more important victory for you this year, but it seems to be a venue that you get along well with?
Yeah, yeah it seems to be. There’s not really tracks that I like and don’t like, but I’d say it’s probably tracks which suit our bike. The Yamaha is very good on tracks that we have grip on, and the Dunlops are very good on hard-pack tracks.
So it kind of suited for me a little bit and it’s similar to my track at home. Although it was quite a lot harder this year and it took me a bit to get my head around it. In the first race I struggled.
It is a good track and I know a lot of people I’ve heard were not that happy with it. But I thought it was really well prepared and it’s something different.
It’s not like the traditional ripped track, it’s something more technical and hard-packed, so I thought it was quite cool to race something a little bit different.
The gap as it stands now is 12 points between you and Todd in the MX1 championship. Would you say this upcoming Moree round could be just as important as Coolum?
Yeah, I think more so for Todd than myself. If I extend that out and take that further four points, it will turn from 12 to 16 going into the last round. That starts to put him under a hell of a lot of pressure.
If he brings that from 12 down to eight, it puts the pressure more onto me aswell. I don’t think he wants to go into Coolum knowing that he has to win all the motos, and obviously he’s going there to pull some points back and I’m going there to extend some points.
But in saying that, I did exactly that last year with Jay. We went 1-2, 2-1 and I got the overall and I had an 18-point lead. Then we went 1-2, 2-1 in the first two races at Coolum, I still had an 18-point lead and it didn’t matter.
So I think that racing is racing and what will be, will be. I’ll just give it 100 percent, work hard and try to do my job.
About your retirement, there was obviously a bunch of media there under the CDR awning and it’s clear your relationship with Craig Dack has been a special one. It’s been a nice two years here in Australia for you hasn’t it?
Yeah, really nice. Like I said my only regret really, well two regrets really, because I regret not winning the world title in 2007, but that title wasn’t going to make me any different as a person, it was just something that I always strived for, so that was a little bit of a regret.
But the real regret was not coming back earlier. I’ve really enjoyed my time here and the good relationship with Dacka, to be honest I think I have so much respect from all the staff at Yamaha and I’m not really sure how I got that.
The way I see it is I just did my job. But we seem to just get along well, we’ve got the same morals and goals, I think we just like to work hard and both like to win.
That’s probably my favourite thing about riding for CDR and Yamaha, they both like to win. Dacka’s done it for 20 years now and he still loves to win, so it’s a good feeling.
I know that the way you go about your racing, you’re pretty straight forward about it all, but you seem to still enjoy it so much after such a long career. You’re into all types of sports as it is as well, so what is it that makes you so focused? Is it determination to win, or is it just really enjoying these final seasons?
It’s just the determination to win. When I was in Europe in my years with Aprilia, they were bad years for my racing. There were not any goals, when I went to Europe in the six week break I was focused on what I was going to do with regards to my career and I did a couple of races.
I wasn’t in a championship position and they had no meaning, I really just didn’t enjoy it. I couldn’t get motivated for them and I couldn’t get excited, so it’s 100 percent the success and determination of winning.
That’s the real thing that keeps me excited about it, and I’m really looking forward to these next two races. I’m really enjoying being in this championship hunt with Todd and myself going head-to-head.
Finally, we know that you’re in the middle of working out where your future lies with Yamaha and also CDR. Apart from that, we’ll sort of put you on the spot here, who would you look at to replace Josh Coppins – is there anyone who stands out to fill your shoes at CDR Yamaha?
That’s a real tough question at the moment, because from my side it’s very hard to choose. I’m kind of in my own little world, I only concentrate on myself and don’t look at the other riders and just tend to focus on what I need to do.
I think I sort of need to step outside of my racing world and put a different hat on and look at the riders in a different way, but obviously Todd stands out and Lawson as well. But to replace me? I always tell Dacka that I’m irreplaceable and that it’s going to be hard [laughs], just joking sort of thing.
But I guess Jay and I were pretty similar, because we were both driven and both wanted to win. So I think to say who would replace me in the same sort of light as me, would be Jay, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.
I think we need to have a bit of a regrouping time at Yamaha and start again. I think Dacka is one of the only guys that can do that, as his results have shown in the last five or six seasons. I think he can bring on some riders to do some great things, just like he’s done with Lawson.
I don’t think he’s looking to replace me, I think he’s looking to consolidate and rebuild.
Awesome, well thanks for your time as always, and congratulations on a great career and 2012 season.