Courtesy of Sharon Cox
NZ’s Josh Coppins has over 15 years of knowledge, race experience and mental prowess on what it takes to race World MX Championship Series which serves as perfect port of call for sharing his thoughts on NZ’s Dylan Walsh racing 2019 MX2 Series.
In what must be the toughest challenge for Walsh in his MX career, Josh sheds light on how to maintain performance amongst highly competitive premier MX2 class, how to work with pressure- self-imposed as well, and how to ‘shape his ambition‘ to realise the success Walsh is after.
With MXGP of Latvia this coming weekend, marking the half-way point in the season, Dylan has made head-way in his debut year with best result 5th in Race 2 at MXGP of Lombardia finishing 11th Overall for the Round.
And, Walsh has experienced unfortunate incidents along the way in number of Rounds, dealing with the nature of racing World MX Championship class- highs, lows and all in between.
As Josh explains: ‘It’s definitely a tough class, there’s a lot of hungry riders ready to put it all on the line for a chance to get to the top. It takes a lot of hard work and patience but also you need to have a clear plan and a lot of support…’
‘So far it’s been OK for him but his biggest issue is around consistency. He’s certainly shown some good form but probably hasn’t ridden as well at the MXGP stage as he has the British Series, mostly due to the pressure’.
Having raced EMX 250 class in 2017, finishing 6th Overall, it is little wonder that only 4 EMX 250 riders moved up to race MX2 2019 given difference in level of racing. Walsh has put into practice all knowledge, skill and race-craft gained with 2 wins in EMX 250 at MXGP of Lombardia and MXGP of Switzerland both Race 1, yet MX2 is tough cookie to crack in first year.
Josh: ‘Firstly I’d say work on being patient and work on consistency. Try to find his flow and make less mistakes as quick as possible. He’s a little bit all or nothing now as he’s desperate to succeed’.
‘I like his ambition and effort he just needs to shape it a bit. I’m hoping he will start to do this and gain some good results and then confidence and the better results will come’.
Racing under Revo Husqvrana UK Team, Dylan’s race schedule includes racing Maxxis ACU British MX Championship and currently holds the Red Plate in Series. With Rounds slotted in between MXGP Series, there have been obvious benefits for Dylan’s boost in confidence taking the Overall win at Round 4 at Balxhall on June 8th.
I asked Josh: ‘Do you think there is certain amount of unknown self-belief until a Rider gains a win? As referring to Ryan Dungey’s comments on Cooper Webb’s run of wins in AMA SX, Dungey referred to fact that ”Cooper gained that feeling of winning, and then ran with it for coming Rounds?”.
Josh: ‘100% you need to run up front to learn how to control the race and control emotions. To you, reading this- may not understand why but when you have been dreaming about winning one of these races for a long time- once you finally do, you need to keep it all under control’.
‘You need to learn how to win even if you have the speed to do so. In Dylan’s case leading and learning this at the British will be a great stepping stone to GP’s’.
And Josh knows- having stood on top of MX1 podium a dozen times from 2004-2009, plus 2x Vice World Champion Titles, ‘The Lizzard’ as known race name is quick to acknowledge where Dylan is coming from racing World MX Championship Series against riders at home in Europe.
Yet, post MXGP of Latvia this coming weekend, Dylan and Team head to race Maxxis Round 5 at Desert Martin on June 30th, followed by fly-away Rounds in Indonesia. These Rounds could prove game changer for many riders- out of comfort zone, time difference, weather acclimatization. All these factors could work to Dylan’s advantage, as one things for sure Kiwi racers are adaptable to any conditions.
Josh shares thoughts on what is needed to race back-to-back weekends and up-coming fly-aways:
‘Rest and recuperation is as important as training. Look after the body because the time change, the heat, the food etc all takes its toll over a season let alone a run of races like that. Prepare well and look after yourself. Try not to come in with any lingering illness or injuries’.
‘I agree it’s a good chance for him to perform. Every race is like an overseas race to him and often when the other riders are feeling out of sorts due to not having the home comforts it’s just the norm for him. Some of my best results were the fly aways as it was no different to me where we raced, they were all a long way from NZ’.
Special thanks to Josh Coppins JCR Yamaha.