If recent results mean anything, then Palmerston North’s Adam Reeves is a very hot favourite to defend his New Zealand Cross-country Championship crown when the 2012 series kicks off near Pahiatua on Sunday.
The 29-year-old Manawatu man has been in superb form as this year’s cross-country series approaches, finishing equal runner-up at the opening round of the parallel New Zealand Enduro Championships near Kawhia a fortnight ago and then emerging as runaway winner at round three of the Bushriders Cross-country Championships near Pahiatua on Sunday.
Sunday’s two-hour race was virtually trouble-free for the Sargent Yamaha rider as he took his YZ450F to the front soon after the start.
“I was in the lead after about five minutes and then just checked out,” said Reeves.
In the end, Reeves was the only rider to complete six of the 25-kilometre laps as he averaged 22 minutes for each circulation and was never troubled by the chasing bunch.
“I was quite tired at the end but it was a good build-up event for me ahead if the cross-country nationals.”
Reeves finished ahead of fellow Yamaha man Hugh Lintott, of Wellington, on Sunday, with Palmerston North’s Steven Bird (Honda) third, Pahiatua’s Jacob Hyslop (Honda) fourth and Dannevirke’s Stacey Smyth (Kawasaki) rounding out the top five.
Those riders, and others, will be working hard to ensure that Reeves does not make it four consecutive national cross-country title wins this season.
“I also expect I’ll be challenged hard this season by Te Awamutu’s Mark Penny, Huntly’s Michael Vining, Taranaki’s Adrian Smith and New Plymouth’s Renny Johnston, among others.
“But I do feel strong and ready to push or title No.4,” said Reeves.
After this weekend’s event near Pahiatua, the national series heads to Huntly for round two on March 25, with the series then heading to the South Island with rounds scheduled for Marlborough on April 22 and, finally, Christchurch on May 12.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com