Nobody could touch Kiwi international Rory Mead at round two of the North Island Cross-country Championships at Oparau on Sunday and, in terms of team honours, the Metalman KMP Kawasaki team was also untouchable.
The day started with the junior class action and Metalman KMP junior support rider Jason Dickey (Kawasaki KX125, Raglan) got off to a good start, rode consistently and again took the line honours in his class, narrowly conceding the overall to Manawatu’s Jordan Wilson (KTM250EXC).
With Ben Exeter injuring himself the week before this event, Dickey’s consistency sees him now leading the series overall.
The senior three-hour race was another exciting action-packed thriller, with Wellington’s Mead (Yamaha YZ250) taking the early advantage and building a comfortable lead of two minutes over the rest of the pack.
Behind Mead, the fight for the minor placings was fierce with 2nd to 5th place changing virtually every lap.
Oparau saw all the boys come out to play, Marton’s Cam Smith and Napier’s John O’Dea (Suzuki RMX450), battled with Te Kauwhata’s Jason Moorfield (Kawasaki KX450F), Norsewood’s Kevin Hermansen (KX250F), Pukekohe’s Luke Ramsey (KX250F) and a hard-charging Sam Greenslade (Suzuki RM250F), from Auckland.
As the laps wore on, Greenslade took the advantage and the ‘brat pack’ of O’Dea and Ramsey pushed their way past the more seasoned riders, showing little respect.
With two laps to go, O’Dea made a charge on Greenslade with Ramsey ready to capitalise on any mistake close behind, O’Dea was forced to succumb, getting an inopportune flat front tyre, allowing Ramsey a glimmer of hope of closing the gap on Greenslade.
The last lap saw Ramsey put down a blinder to close right up on Greenslade, having a punt at a sly pass 500 metres before the flag, but Greenslade saw it coming and closed the hole, finishing a mere three seconds ahead.
Mead dealt out a lesson to all at Oparau, he never was challenged all day and deservedly took the overall victory.
With Ramsey’s third overall and runner-up finish in the under-300cc 4-stroke class, he now leads both his class and the overall.
Moorfield again finished solidly in 9th overall and also leads the 35–44 years veterans’ class.
It was fantastic to have Hermansen back in action and, despite having a badly lacerated finger, he produced a solid 18th overall and 7th in the under-300cc 4-stroke class. This gave the Metalman KMP Team it’s first teams win of the season.
Young Cam Downing (KX125) had a shocking day.
On Lap one, his bike decided to shed its front wheel and bike and rider parted company. Fortunately, with no severe injury or damage to either.
“To get a team win today and have three of the five boys on the podium makes all the hard work behind fielding this team worthwhile,” said Metalman KMP team owner Kim Herbert.
“We have terrific support from some great companies and, of course, the pit crew and family support makes it one big happy team.”
Round three of the series is only two weeks away, at Raglan on March 27.
© Photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com