Visitor shows his class in clean sweep
Visiting Australian rider Sam Martin was in a league of his own at the World's Most Southern Supercross Race at Winton on Saturday - claiming both the senior open and senior lites class titles.
The 17-year-old was touted as the competitor to beat leading into the championship after registering a fourth place finish in the Australian under-19 supercross series this year.
Martin showed his class, winning all three heats in the senior open category, and backed up that effort by finishing first in all three of the senior lites heats.
He flew around the 800m track in a best time of 45 seconds, which bettered the fastest lap time set by Christchurch rider and defending champion Justin McDonald last year.
Event organiser Jim Cooper said Martin was a cut above the other riders and would be a name to watch for in the coming years.
"For a 17-year-old, he rode phenomenally," he said.
Tauranga's Peter Bronxholme finished up second overall in the senior open class, and Rotorua's Michael Phillips was third.
In the senior lites, Christchurch young-gun Micah McGoldrick placed second on his CRF250, with promising Mt Maunganui rider Rhys Carter ending up third on his Suzuki.
Southland's Conrad White was the best of the hometown riders, claiming the junior 125/250cc class on board his CRF250. White was victorious in the opening two races, with James Anderson, who was second overall, gaining the win in the final heat.
Balclutha's Madison Latta took out the junior lites 85cc after winning the final two heats.
Race favourite Ryan Hayston won the first heat of the day, but crashed his bike in the second race and did not come out for the final heat.
Saturday's event was the second time that elite supercross has been held in Southland at the new purpose-built 32-jump track at Cooper's Oreti Plains farm, near Winton.
The track received rave reviews from riders last year and Cooper said they were again complimentary of the southern circuit.
"They all went away saying it's the best track in New Zealand again. Everyone who came couldn't believe what they came to.
"We're looking at doing it again next year. We'll try and bring more Australians out and hopefully get a bit more entertainment going."
Wet weather meant the riders were only able to get in one practice session on Saturday afternoon.
The rain went away for the start of the competition, with strong winds helping dry out the track.
The cold weather affected crowd numbers, with about 400 people attending the event, down on the 700 from last year.
- The Southland Times