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Smith Well Positioned In Two Competitions

Smith Well Positioned In Two Competitions


Mokau’s Adrian Smith (Yamaha YZ250), settling into his role as double defending national champion. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com

FEBRUARY 18, 2013: The pressure is on for double defending national cross-country champion Adrian Smith, but it’s something he’s getting used to.

The man from Mokau was beaten into second spot at the opening round of the 2013 New Zealand Cross-country Championships in Southland on Sunday, just as he had been forced to accept runner-up spot at the New Zealand Enduro Championships opener at Kawhia just over two weeks ago.

The 27-year-old Yamaha ace won both the national cross-country and enduro crowns last season and he knows that copping with pressure comes with the territory as he attempts two title defences this season.

While he accepts he has a big target on his back, he’s also determined to a moving target and “moving targets are hard to hit”.

Moving at high speed was certainly a factor as he raced his Blackwoods BikesportNZ.com Yamaha YZ250 near Te Anau on Sunday.

Raglan teenager Jason Dickey eventually won Sunday’s cross-country series
opener, leading Smith to the finish line, with Te Awamutu's Mark Penny taking third spot overall on the rough and steep farmland circuit near Te Anau.

These three riders were the only competitors to complete seven laps in the three hours, with all the other riders managing only six laps or fewer.

"At least I've got some points on the board but I reckon defending both these two titles is going to be very tough indeed," conceded the 27-year-old Smith.

“The bike was great. I had one get-off in a muddy swamp, but that didn’t cost me any places. Jason rode really well and he deserved the win.”

The four-round New Zealand Cross-country Championships continue with rounds in Taranaki on March 16, Christchurch on April 21 and, finally, it wraps up in Hawke’s Bay on May 18.

Smith has very little time to catch his breath – the next round of the parallel Yamaha New Zealand Enduro Championships is on the Coromandel Peninsular, near Whangamata, this Saturday.

Smith feels he has no reason to panic. With both series now kicked into life, Smith finds himself in second spot overall in both the off-road bike competitions and in both cases he is in a strong position.

Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com

ENDS

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