After his best Grand Prix season ever, CAS Honda rider Josh
Coppins is looking to make some major changes to an already successful
career. The 2006 season will be the most important in his long assault
on the world motocross championship, and the Kiwi knows it’s going to
take a bigger effort to challenge defending champion Stefan Everts.
We caught up with Josh on the phone today, and he is
pumped to spend some time at home with his family and friends and enter
another chapter in his amazing progress as a rider and person.
Racer X: So, back in New Zealand.… How it is to be home?
|Josh Coppins and team manager Neil Prince|
Josh Coppins: It’s great. The weather is awesome. It’s cool to be
in your own house and hanging out with friends. I've been riding my
road bike a lot—I’ve got two new trials bikes, but my cousin and I
broke them on the first day. Yes, its cool to be back!
Have you already started your plans for ‘06, or are you taking it easy at the moment?
I'm taking it easy, but I’m working a bit already on a couple of my
biggest weaknesses. I’m going cycling tomorrow, and I’m also working on
some business stuff.
What points of the season stood out for you, good and bad?
The opening round in Zolder was a real low. It was pathetic. I was
really bad there. Sweden was good, but the biggest standout for me was
the first moto and second motos in Nismes, Belgium. There I had speed
that I have never had before.
In Nismes you rode and looked like a different rider. Why was that? What made the difference?
|Coppins at the gate|
[Laughs] Yep, you’re right. It was a combination of being really
good at that time of the year, loving the track, and really wanting to
put the heat on Stefan. It’s just a track that my style excels on, also.
Sun City: again, that new look, the equal to the legend Everts?
Yes, I put a lot into the first moto, and Stefan was riding really
good, I think. I just wanted it so bad. I remember the right-hander
after the mechanics’ area—it was a difficult turn and I was dragging my
elbow and on the gas. After the race I had a smile from ear to ear just
because of that corner. If I can get that speed more consistently, I
think the MX1 boys have a problem in ‘06.
Natural talent-wise, Stefan, Mickael, and Ben are probably better
than you. What have you done to compete with these guys? Is it mental
I want it bad. My style isn’t the best and I use too much energy, but I
make it up in areas like determination, guts, and desire. Plus, my team
is awesome. I’m working hard on improving my flexibility and style; I
will improve in that area in ’06. Trust me.
You’re not a big talker—still the blue-collar hero. Is that
sometimes a drawback for you, or a plus?
|Josh leads Pascal Leuret|
It's a drawback at times, like on the podium, or when I meet new
people, I’m quiet. I don’t talk much. People say I don’t smile enough.
I'm working on that, but I think it’s because I'm a thinker. On the
podium I'm thinking what was good, what was bad, etc., etc. On the
upside, people don’t see me as cocky or arrogant, so that’s nice. At
the end of the day, talk is cheap. Results are what count. But I'm
going to try and be a bit more outgoing.
Mickael Pichon on KTM, will it be any different?
Everyone has their own opinion on this. My opinion is, maybe for a part
of the season it will be different, but not for the complete year.
Don’t forget about Sebastian Tortelli.
It's now of never to beat Everts. For all you guys, this will be the final year. Is that a motivation?
For sure it is motivation, but I don’t think I need any more
motivation. I was motivated this year, but he was just better over the
whole season. I just need to be better. That’s it, really.
Did you feel like Stefan was riding on the edge on many occasions this year?
|Coppins in Ernee, France|
For him, yes; for anyone else, it looked normal. He made more mistakes
this year, that’s for sure. He made a lot of mistakes for a guy who had
a healthy points lead almost all year long.
You aren’t a rider who will ride over your limit. Is that a correct opinion?
Yes, I am consistent, and you don’t often see me on the floor, although
towards the end of this year I took more risks and you saw more
crashes, like the Motocross of Nations and Ireland.
Thanks, Josh, and good luck.
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