Features 12 Jul 2012

Catching Up: Josh Coppins

MotoOnline.com.au talks to the CDR Yamaha star about season 2012 and the future.

CDR Yamaha’s Josh Coppins is one of the most recognised and accomplished motocross riders on the planet. With a memorable world championship career under his belt, Australia has been lucky enough to have the Kiwi race on our turf during 2011 and 2012.

After coming so close to the MX1 title on debut last year before he was injured at the season finale, Coppins has led the majority of this season aboard the YZ450F.

But recent rounds haven’t been straightforward for ‘The Lizard’, watching his former series lead of 42 points after winning in Western Australia slip to just 12 with four rounds remaining.

MotoOnline.com.au checked in with Coppins ahead of this weekend’s Horsham round to see how he’s feeling and what we can expect out of him for the series’ remainder. We also asked the question everybody wants to know – will 2012 be his last on the professional circuit?

Josh Coppins has been a class act during his two seasons in Australia with CDR Yamaha. Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

We’re coming into the final four rounds of the MX Nationals, you still have the series lead but it has been shrinking in recent rounds. What’s your mindset at this point?

I just need to keep doing what I’m doing. I need to try and be a little bit more consistent and iron out some of the problems I’ve had at the last couple of rounds. It’s definitely not panic stations and I’m riding well at the moment.

The last couple of rounds have been sort of awkward with the six-week trip to Europe in between, so I’m happy to be back home, doing some good training into the last four rounds. Two of those rounds I won last year, and I went 1-2 at Coolum before the injuries. I’ve ridden three of the four tracks, so that’s going to be good for me.

Like you mentioned, you’re back home in New Zealand now, focusing on your program and doing your own thing. Is that the way you like it?

Yeah, it’s heaps better. I’ve got a really good set-up here that makes training easy. While in the UK, although it was a great trip personally, racing-wise it was a disaster. It just rained pretty much the whole time I was there, I couldn’t get consistent riding in and I was limited to tracks.

It was just kind of hard work, whereas riding back here is easy and there are so many tracks close by, good facilities and a lot more help around here. It just makes my life a little bit easier and a little bit more enjoyable.

I know while you were in the UK you did a round of the British nationals and also a Red Bull series round. What was that like, can you compare it to racing against the Aussies in Australia?

Not really. It’s a little bit tricky because, I’ve always said this, any domestic championship is tough no matter where you’re racing. The British championship, the first race I did, which is the main and probably best series in the UK, I finished third.

I was a little bit jet-lagged, the week after Adelaide, and I was rushing around trying to sort my bike out all week. To get on the podium was quite okay though. The next race I did was the Red Bull one and it rained, and rained, and rained.

I had some bike problems because of the mud and I only did one moto because I’m no mechanic and I needed another three or four weeks training on that bike afterwards. I didn’t even bother with the second race, because it was so wet.

When you got back, your teammate Lawson Bopping won at Hervey Bay and Todd Waters won at Murray Bridge. What’s your opinion on these young Aussies? We were expecting the likes of Jay Marmont racing for the title, but it’s been some new faces amongst it.

Nah, it’s good. To be fair, I think it’s what it should be. If you look at the world championship or even in America, there are a lot younger guys on the pace. It’s just natural and it’s what should happen, so it’s good to see those guys figuring it out.

It will be interesting to see those guys coming into the last four rounds, because last year we had four riders battling for the title going into the last four rounds and then going into the last round it was really only Jay and myself. Dean [Ferris] and Billy [Mackenzie] sort of fell away towards the end.

So it will be interesting to see how the young guys handle the championship pressure, we’ll see how it goes. I think it’s good that they’re starting to step up though and it’s only natural.

Both Coppins and CDR Yamaha teammate Lawson Bopping are in the MX1 title hunt. Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

In the Race Reflection film on the website after Hervey Bay (click here to view), Cody Cooper was mistaken and thought that you took him out in the final moto there. He said something like Josh has his coming…. Did you see that?

No, I didn’t, but I heard about it. A few mates called me and Dacka called me, to tell me about it on the Thursday after the round. But I haven’t been online since I’ve been home, apart from emails, to be honest. I didn’t really know much about it.

Coops did text me to say sorry, but it was just one of those things I guess. It was bad for both of us, he got up and I was the only other guy on the ground, so he just assumed it was me.

I was behind him when it happened, but yeah, you know how it is in the heat of the moment. He was frustrated and had to take it out on someone [laughs]. Unfortunately it was me.

You’re in what is supposed to be your final year of racing, but you had a question on your butt patch at Hervey Bay. Have you made any further decisions? Will this be the last professional season we see from Josh Coppins?

I’m still working through all that with Yamaha. It’s tricky because we’re still working and we’re going to make an announcement at Appin, so then it will all be clear what’s going to happen.

It’s tricky because we’re trying to focus on winning the championship, but then we’re also focusing on am I going to ride more? What am I going to ride? What am I going to do? Am I going to move into some sort of role with Yamaha, or? So there are a lot of questions.

I don’t think Yamaha want to approach it too hard, because they want me to focus on the championship, but at the same time I’d be lying if I said my mind wasn’t wandering onto other things and those sorts of things – whether I’ll be racing or whether I won’t be.

So we’re going to make an announcement at Appin and I can’t wait to get it out, get it done.