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Smith Returns And Wins Straight Away

Smith Returns And Wins Straight Away

Andy McGechan

DECEMBER 6, 2012: Mokau’s Adrian Smith has wasted no time putting to the test the lessons he learned while racing overseas this season.

Just back in the country after a stint of cross-country racing in the United States, the 26-year-old Yamaha ace was soon impressing with his new-found speed, winning the opening round of the Bel Ray Cross-country Championships near Huntly at the weekend, finishing comfortably ahead of Te Awamutu’s Mark Penny, Auckland riders Shaun Fogarty and Callan May and Rotorua’s Scott Birch.

Smith had won both the New Zealand Cross-country Championships and the New Zealand Enduro Championships outright earlier this year, before jetting off to “dip toes in the water” at several rounds of the Grand National Cross-Country Championships (GNCC) in the US, and he returned with a few extra weapons in his arsenal.

“I learned a lot about fitness and training. I was spending a lot of time with Pahiatua’s Paul Whibley (the Yamaha star who has just won the GNCC title in the US for a second time), and that was a good experience.”

However, even though the international adventure had further sharpened his riding skills, Smith’s first race back on home soil at the weekend was still a stern test.

“The course at Huntly was a lot different to what I’d been riding in the US. I was actually quite worried about the high speeds. In the US it’s a lot more technical and tight and not wide open farmland like here in New Zealand.

“So I just tried to control the race from the front. When I got into the lead I slowed it down a little, trying to keep riders behind me.

“But then Mark (Penny) got past me and I had to go hard out again,” said the Waitomo man, now racing a Yamaha YZ250 two-stroke instead of the YZF250 four-stroke bike he used to win his two national crowns.

“I snatched the lead back and then stretched out my advantage as much as I could without being silly. In the end, I finished about two minutes ahead of Mark.”

The next race in the three-round series is set for Huntly on January 13, with the final round again near Huntly, on February 9.

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