Cooper reclaims number one plate as title comes down to the wire.
Kirk Gibbs has fallen just shy of defending his New Zealand MX Nationals MX1 crown after the title came down to the final moto at Taupo’s finale at the weekend, with local favourite Cody Cooper (Honda Racing) ultimately reclaiming the premier class championship.
The duo traded race victories in motos one and two, meaning just three points separated them in the standings coming into race three. With the title on the line, Gibbs pushed to defend his championship, however a crucial mistake saw him lose valuable time on Cooper in the final outing, forcing him to relinquish the crown.
“The last race I got out front early but struggled with the track a bit,” Gibbs admitted. “Cody rode really well and passed me. I made a big mistake and came off the track – I lost a lot of ground and he got away and ended up winning.
“I rode really well in the first moto after getting pinched off at the start. I had to come from behind and caught Cody from a long way back. I made a little error with two laps to go and he got out in front a little bit and I finished second.
“I got close to Cody and passed him just before we got to the yellow-flagged area [in race two]. I was leading when they red-flagged the race because of a down rider, but it was over halfway through the race, so I was awarded the win.
“There’s always one winner at the end. Everyone can’t win and at least it was a close season. I really wanted to win for Josh and Amy [Coppins] and hopefully they’ll have me back again in 2020 and I’ll try to get it back again.”
The former Australian champion will return to the country to embark on his Pirelli MX Nationals campaign with CDR Yamaha Monster Energy, which kicks off this weekend at Appin in New South Wales.