The series is called the Sandpit Two-man Cross-country Championship but that didn’t stop Palmerston North’s Adam Reeves from going it alone at round two of the series last weekend.
The Yamaha ace made the most of his seven-hour drive to the sandy Woodhill Forest, north-west of Auckland, taking his YZ450F to an astounding third overall, behind outright winning pair of Callan May and Josh Jack and the runner-up Honda pairing of James Ainsworth and Chris Power.
While BikesportNZ.com riders May (Yamaha), from Auckland, and Kaukapakapa teenager Jack (Suzuki) won the gruelling three-hour race, it is the outstanding solo effort of Reeves that also commands huge respect.
Also supported by BikesportNZ.com, Reeves took to the challenge with the same determination that saw him win three consecutive national cross-country crowns outright in recent years and the same tenacity that has seen him feature near the top of the national enduro scene as well.
“In this series they start the riders in rows of five and let them go at 20-second intervals to spread the field out from the start,” Reeves explained.
“I was in row eight, behind the top teams, so I had a few guys to work my way through in order to get closer to the front. On lap one I was riding very tight and struggling to get around riders, so I made an early pit stop to make a suspension change and grab some fuel while I was at it.
“The change helped and I was soon picking of my competition and moving forward. With the event being held in sand-based pine forest, it cut up really quickly and became very rough. This suited me well, as a lot of the other riders slowed up and some started to hit the ‘wall’ fitness-wise.
“I made my second pit stop at the two-hour point of the race and by this stage I knew I was leading the ironman class and must of being getting up there amongst the top teamed-up riders as well. I was riding well but, admittedly, I was feeling the pain by this stage of the race. But I pushed on and made another couple of passes before the end.
“I ended up taking out the Ironman class and finished third outright for the day. I’m pretty happy with this but there’s certainly more to come.”
Meanwhile May and Jack had finished overall runners-up at the opening round of this series a month ago – behind the Ainsworth/Power team – so it will possibly go down to the wire at the third and final round on September 30 to determine the series champion this season.
1. Joshua Jack & Callan May
2. James Ainsworth & Chris Power
3. Adam Reeves (also 1st ironman)
4. Jono Hill & Jason Dickey
5. Greg De Lautour & Ryan Knight
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com