Four is a number that Mokau’s Adrian Smith seems to have a liking for.
That’s the eventual national ranking he achieved in the recently-completed New Zealand Cross-country Championships and it’s also where he finished up in the parallel but separate national enduro championships, which wrapped up near Tokoroa on Queen’s Birthday Monday.
The 31-year-old sheep and beef farmer is a four-time former national cross-country champion – earning the No.1 ranking in 2006, 2012, 2013 and again in 2014 – and also won the national enduro championships outright in 2012, so he might consider this season’s dirt bike campaigns as slightly less than sensational.
But finishing fourth overall in the two codes this year is still so much more than most other riders ever achieve in an entire career and his four national cross-country titles is a record that’s yet to be beaten.
Smith took his Yamaha YZ250X two-stroke bike to finish the day overall runner-up, behind 450cc-powered defending national champion Brad Groombridge, at the enduro nationals final near Tokoroa on Monday and this was enough to elevate him from fifth at the start of the day to give him the final championship ranking of No.4.
It won’t be the last we hear of Smith, but he is now re-evaluating his future with the sport as work commitments on the farm become more pressing for him.
“I’m pretty pleased with my final (enduro) championship result on Monday and fourth overall is not too bad considering the problems I’ve had this season … having the drive chain derail at a very muddy round five certainly didn’t help,” he said.
“I had other issues to deal with too and this season was a comeback for me after I’d taken the year off in 2016 because of work commitments.
“I’ll still do the odd race here and there next season, but possibly won’t be doing an entire championships campaign again,” he said.
“Finishing second at Tokoroa was a good way to sign off the year. It was very close racing between the three or four of us at the top.
“”The real problem for me at the moment is that I can’t continue to keep racing at the level I’d like. I haven’t be able to train as much as I need to.
“I might do the first round of the cross-country nationals next year and then see what I do after that. Whatever happens in the future, I’ll be able to look back proudly on my career and that’s important for me.”
Smith is supported by Yamaha-Motor New Zealand, Bike Torque, BikesportNZ.com, MotoSR, Michelin, Workshop Graphics and O’Neal.
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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