Labour Weekend ’ s traditional Huka Honda MX Fest motocross extravaganza at Taupo again signalled the kick-off to the new season , something that had been in doubt in the current COVID-19 climate , and that this event could go ahead came as a welcome relief for a great portion of the Kiwi motocross community who eagerly showed up at Digger McEwen Motorcycle Park .

MX1 For 38-year-old Mount Maunganui man Cooper ( Motul Honda Racing Team CRF450 ), it was certainly a great opportunity for him to “ blow out a few cobwebs ” ahead of the upcoming 2021-22 season , all of course assuming that the pandemic won ’ t further impinge on the sporting world in the months ahead . Regardless , current national MX1 No . 2 Cooper was determined to begin his season positively and , with eight holeshots from eight starts in his senior grade racing on the Sunday , he certainly ticked that box .
He did have a fight on his hands dealing with fellow Kiwi international Maximus Purvis ( Altherm JCR Yamaha ), the 2021 national MX2 champion from Mangakino , now on a 450cc MX1 bike , who was actually leading Cooper by three points after the three 15-minute races . Purvis compiled a 2-2-1 score-card to Cooper ’ s 1-2-2 during the first phase of MX1 racing and there really was little to separate the two men on the track . Napier ’ s Tommy Watts ( Motoland Yamaha ) was third each time , with Raetihi ’ s Richard Horne ( Bike Torque Gas Gas ) and Waikanae ’ s Jesse Donnelly ( City Honda ) rounding out the top five . But then came the series of knockout sprint races and that ’ s where Cooper ruled supreme as each time he blasted his Honda CRF450 into the front right from the start and he never looked back after that . Cooper won each of the remaining five races to capture the overall MX1 class victory . “ It ’ s a good feeling to come out on top this early in the season ,” said Cooper afterwards . “ I