Smith in prime spot
It seems Mokau's Adrian Smith has energy to burn.
Smith's Yamaha YZ250 was still warm after his impressive class win and overall runner-up finish at the opening round of the Yamaha New Zealand Enduro Championships, near Kawhia, last Saturday when he loaded the bike up to head off and contest round two of the Taranaki Cross-country Championships at Tarata, near Inglewood, the following day.
The 27-year-old reigning national enduro and cross-country champion took his Blackwood BikesportNZ.com Yamaha YZ250 to a convincing win in the Taranaki event last Sunday, leading home fellow Taranaki riders Tony Parker, Karl Roberts and Renny Johnston.
That result, coupled with his third-place finish at round one of the Taranaki series, near Eltham, in January - where he finished that day behind fellow Yamaha ace Paul Whibley and Hawera's multi-time national motocross champion Daryl Hurley - puts him in prime position to wrap up the title at the third and final round at Purangi, near Inglewood, next month.
"Parker got the holeshot at Tarata," said Smith. "But I took over the lead about halfway through the first lap and then opened up a bit of a gap on him."
But then trouble struck for Smith when he came into the pits for refuelling.
"The float got stuck in the carburettor and I lost quite a bit of time fixing it. This allowed Parker to catch right up behind me. But I pushed pretty hard over the final lap and ended up with a fairly comfortable win in the end.
"My fitness is pretty good at the moment and I'm just doing as much riding as I can. I will race at the third and final round of the Bel Ray Cross-country Championships, near Huntly, this weekend."
Smith leads the Bel Ray series after two rounds, seven points ahead of joint second-ranked men Sam Brown, of Hamilton, and Te Awamutu's Mark Penny.
Another solid performance on Saturday will see national No 1 Smith wrap up the first of many major titles he is chasing this season. "After Huntly I head down south for the opening round of the New Zealand Cross-country Championships at Te Anau the following weekend."