Moto Media
James Stewart

Race brief ... from Mike Phillips.

Event: Summercross. Tuesday 28 Dec 2010. Track: Awakaponga MX track Whakatane.

Bike/Class: Honda CRF450 MX1

Results: 1st Mike Phillips, 2nd Justin McDonald, 3rd Cody Cooper.

It was the first motocross race since the last round in Australia back in late August. I was looking forward to see what my speed was like since moving to the MX1 class and having Josh Coppins and the other top Kiwi guys there it was just the event for it.

Qualifying went okay on the slippery muddy track and I came in 2nd behind Coppins. The rain wasn't letting up but the sandy pumice track was holding up alright.

Moto 1: I got a sweet start and came into the corner 2nd. Coppins over shot the corner and I moved into the lead. From there I didn't look back and I won the moto by 30 seconds.

Moto 2: The rain kept coming down and didn't look like letting up. I got a good jump off the concrete gate and came around the first turn in 4th. I made my way passed Coppins and a few other riders to get up to second behind Cody Copper. I didn't want to rush things but I was running out of roll-offs pretty quick. On the third lap I made a pass on Cooper and made it stick. I then led the race all the way to the finish.

Moto 3: By this time the track was falling apart and I knew the overall was more important than the race win. I didn't get the start and had to fight through the pack on the opening lap. I was rushing it a little and hit the back of a rider and went down. I got back up and in the next corner did the same. I took my time and got back into the groove. By the last few laps I was into 4th behind Coppins but a run in with KTM rider Shaun Fogarty put me back to 5th were I finished the race.


The entry to the sawdust section was turning to slop. Photo: Alan H.

Overall I was pretty happy with the days racing. It wasn't the best conditions but the last 3 race meeting before that were all in the mud/rain so I was used to it. To beat Coppins, Cooper and McDonald all good riders in all conditions is a big confidence boost coming into the motocross season starting next month.

That was one event down 2 more to go.


Event: NZ Supercross Open. Date: Friday 31 Dec 2010. Location: Leading Edge Park Te Puke (Mason Phillip's Supercross track)
Bike/class: Honda CRF 450 Pro Open

Results: 1st Cody Cooper, 2nd Josh Coppins, 3rd Mike Phillips.

Qualifying didn't go that great as I was still trying different sections on the track. I could only manage 4th.

Heat 1: I got a good start and sat in 3rd. I moved up into 2nd after passing Honda rider Jesse Wiki. Not long after I came into a corner a little hot and stalled the bike. I got going in 5th but then got tangled up with Josh Coppins a lap later. I was able to get going and finish the race in 4th.

Heat 2: Back to back with Heat 1 and this time I got a better start and sat in behind Coppins in 2nd. I held out a charge from Cooper for as long as I could but he got by and I settled for 3rd.

Heat 3:  I got the hole shot and lead for about half the race. I made a few little mistakes and Copper and Coppins got by. I again settled for 3rd.

Heat 4: I had another good start and was in 2nd behind Coppins. Again I held out Copper for as long as I could but he got by and I settled for 3rd again.

I took a lot of positives out of the night. Running Coppin's and Cooper's pace for a good number of laps was great for me. I know I haven't done as much Supercross as those two and to be up there battling with them felt good.

Two down one to go.



Event: Round 2 NZ Supercross Champs. Date: Sunday 02 Jan 2011. Location: Taupo SX track.

Bike/Class: Honda CRF450 SX Open

Result: 5th

Qualifying: I didn't gell with the track in first or second practice and was just trying to get a rhythm going. Qualified 6th.
After superpole I bet Coppins and moved into 4th.

Heat 1:  I got a good start and was in second but got passed by Coppins. I made a big mistake through the nasty kicky whoops and went down. I finished the race in 6th

Heat 2: Again I got a good start and came around in 3rd. I was feeling good sitting in behind Coppins and Cooper just in front. It was hard to make up any time and I just tried to push it a little harder in one section. Big mistake. I washed the front and went down. I got back on and finished the race in 5th.

Heat 3: I just wanted to finish the race on the bike. They had watered the track and by this time the soft pumus track was falling apart. I got another good start and was sitting in 3rd. Team mate Justin McDonald passed me and not long after that I was passed by Honda rider Jesse Wiki. I wasn't feeling that great and kept making little mistakes trying to push it harder. I finished the race in 5th.

Overall championship: 4th

I didn't like the Taupo SX track and I struggled to find my groove on it as the track was tight and didn't have much flow. I head down to the South Island this week for Round 3 and 4 of the Supercross Championship. I'm hoping they go a lot better than Taupo did.

Again a big thanks to all my sponsors and mechanic Big Gear for all there help and support.

Cheers, Mike Phillips