Mokau’s Adrian Smith is used to battling the odds, and often overcoming them, but his latest achievement caught even this unflappable 25-year-old by surprise.
It is not very often that motorcycle racers gain recognition in the mainstream of Kiwi sport, so when they do it’s a very big deal indeed and Smith being named Waitomo District Sportsperson of the Year recently was cause for huge celebration in the Smith household.
In front of a full auditorium at the Waitomo Cultural and Arts Centre, the Yamaha rider was crowned Sportsperson of the Year, joining an elite list of past winners including shearing legend David Fagan and Olympic rower Rob Waddell.
Smith’s list of successes in 2011 included winning the under-300cc class at the cross-country nationals, finishing runner-up (behind Auckland Honda rider Karl Power) in the under-300cc four-stroke class at this season’s national enduro championships and coming home with a gold medal from the “Olympic Games of motorcycling”, the International Six Days Enduro, in Finland in November.
“It’s an honour to receive this award and I couldn’t have done it without the support of my parents or from Yamaha New Zealand,” he said.
“It was a huge surprise. I didn’t expect to win.”
He is now looking forward to the season ahead, one that will include an even more committed approach from the Waitomo sheep and beef farmer.
“I will race the New Zealand Enduro Championships again, as well as tackling the New Zealand Cross-country Championships and at least the North Island rounds of the New Zealand Motocross Championships as well. I will race the same Yamaha YZ250F in all three competitions.”
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com