Two Kiwi Motocross legends are looking to shape future in NZ

At the start of the millennium, Ben Townley and Josh Coppins waved the Kiwi flag on the international motocross stage.

But since their retirement, New Zealand's seen a lack of talent coming through the system.

So the pair have taken it upon themselves to change that - and Townley's son Levi is among the next crop of stars.

As far as coaches go, there's not many better than former world champion Townley.

"Yeah, he's an awesome coach," Levi Townley said, of his father.

Being Ben's son has its own challenges.

"Probably when I'm getting yelled at by dad to go faster."

But it's paying off - Levi has just signed a sponsorship deal with Yamaha.

The motorcycle manufacturer hopes to invest more in the junior programme to help the sport get back to where it used to be in this country.

"You know in the late 2000s, when at one point we were dominating Europe, America and Australia - we're a far cry from there now, unfortunately, so we need to regroup." Coppins said.

That regrouping started this weekend with New Zealand's first YZ65 Cup, a category for riders aged between seven and 11.

Both Townley and Coppins are on board as mentors, and have joined forces with Motorcycling NZ to drive the sport's development.

"I'm hoping it leads to the next world champion," Coppins said.

"I just want to help the sport achieve that - it doesn't matter if it's my son," Ben Townley said. "Whoever it is, I'm pretty keen to see that happen." 

But Levi's keen to see it happen as well.

He knows exactly what he wants to be when he's older.

"A world championship 450 Motocross rider."

Levi is following in his father's footsteps - one of many Kiwis looking to become New Zealand's next motocross world champion.


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