News 24 Jan 2017

New Zealand champion Cooper set for another title defence

Kiwi faces intense challenge from top Australian rivals.

Image: Andy McGechan (

Defending New Zealand motocross champion Cody Cooper will shoot for a sixth-career national title when the gates drop on the 2017 season at Timaru on 5 February, set to undergo an immense challenge from an increased Australian contingent.

Cooper, 33, has won the past four NZ MX1 championships in a row after overcoming Australian champion Dean Ferris and Todd Waters last year, however both will be back once again this season with the target of snapping the Kiwi’s title-streak.

This weekend will see the New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville take place in the lead-up to the nationals, where Honda Racing’s Cooper plans to refine the settings of his brand new 2017 CRF450R. From there, attention will turn to four rounds of the NZ championship.

“It’s definitely good for our national series to have the Australians here… probably not as good for me [laughs],” Cooper commented when contacted by “It’s good though, keeps you working hard and is going to be one of the harder years, because each of them are pretty fast.

“I’m a little bit behind on some testing, but we have the right people helping us with it to speed that up, so it should be good. We have Woodville this weekend before [the nationals], so we can use it for setting up and then we know for sure that we will head into the nationals with something okay.”

Cooper was absent from the 2016 Motul MX Nationals in Australia, however he’s remained sharp by contesting multiple Pro Motocross rounds in the US, as well as representing New Zealand in the Motocross of Nations (MXoN).

“Our series is quite short, so it’s easy to be motivated over that time,” he explained. “We finish that, then do some American rounds and also MXoN. I’m looking at doing some rounds in Australia this year as well, maybe the last two or one here and one there.”

A full season in Australia is also still an option for Cooper, but only if the right opportunity developed: “I’d come and do the series if there was a good opportunity with Honda, but I’m not going to go and beg – I don’t need to. I don’t want it to cost me money.”