Coppins Returning to World Motocross

Motocross hero Josh Coppins will be back at an early round of the world championships to defend his runner-up spot in the premier 250 class, now called MotoCross GP.

The New Zealand-born ace, fighting back after a horror crash in the USA in January, plans to rejoin his CAS Honda factory team in the UK shortly. He could be riding the European-based, 12-round world championship on his special CR250R within weeks, after recovering from surgery to both feet, an ankle and his back.

“We haven’t been able to set a date for my return to full riding, so it’s not possible to say which of the grand prix rounds will be my first one back,” said the determined Coppins, who turned 26 last week.

“Obviously I’m keen to be back as soon as possible, but I also have to be careful not to undo all the good recovery work.

“I’m getting medical reports each week and every day I can feel my body returning to strength. The injuries are healing well now and my fitness is coming up.”

Coppins, from the small town of Motueka in the north of New Zealand’s South Island, is training every day; following rehab work in Europe he is looking forward to rejoining the CAS squad based at Corby, Northants, England.

The team is buoyed by a 1-2-3 clean sweep of the opening round of the British championship last weekend to Gordon Crockard, Jussi Vehvilainen and Yoshi Atsuta, although dismayed at internal injuries suffered by manager /rider Neil Prince.

“It’s very hard to stand by and not be involved in all this, good or bad,” commented Josh Coppins.

“But I’m just focusing on getting back to riding at the level I reached last year, and pushing higher to take the world title.

“I’ve spent eight years getting to this position and I won’t be sidelined by injury now.”

Coppins was labelled the quiet achiever of the 2002 season, overcoming a host of setbacks to pressure back-to-back champion Mickael Pichon (France) and restore Honda to the podium of world motocross.

It’s been confirmed this year’s world championship, which kicks off in Spain at the end of the month, will be decided over just 12 rounds after two grand prix dates were dropped.

The latest calendar:

30 March Bellpuig, Spain
13 April Valkenswaard, Holland
4 May Teutschenthal, Germany
1 June Montevarchi, Italy
8 June Sevlievo, Bulgaria
22 June Karntenring, Austria
6 July Uddevalla, Sweden
20 July Namur, Belgium
10 August Lierop, Holland
24 August Gaildorf, Germany
31 August Loket, Czech Republic
14 Sept Ernee, France
5 Oct
MX des Nations: Zolder, Belgium