Whether he’s rounding up stock in Awakino Gorge, or competing against the country’s top dirt riders – you’ll never find Adrian Smith far from his bike.
Mokau’s Adrian Smith has just claimed a record fourth national cross-country crown. Photo by Andy McGechan, www.bikesportnz.com
Last month the 28-year-old South Waikato sheep and beef farmer reminded everyone why he has such a strong connection with his bike when he made New Zealand motorcycling history claiming the national cross-country championships for the fourth time.
But it was not the first title of the season for the Yamaha rider, who only a week earlier also claimed the New Zealand Enduro Championships class title in his over-200cc two stroke class.
Following a dominant performance over the earlier three rounds in the cross country series, Adrian had accumulated a strong points advantage ahead of the final round in Marlborough and was favoured to take the crown, but he was never going to settle for a safe ride on his Yamaha YZ250.
Talking after the event near Ward on May 17, Adrian – who has never been known for taking a sensible, low-risk approach – said he knew he just had to “ride smart and wrap up the overall win”.
In the three-hour race, south of Blenheim, he was tussling closely with rival Yamaha teammate Ethan Bruce who Adrian eventually left behind – going on to win the round with Ethan finishing runner up on the day and for the season. Raglan farmer Jason Dickey’s solid performance – finishing fifth in Marlborough – helped him claim third for the season.
“It was pretty hectic at the start,” says Adrian about the final race. “Ethan and I were out in front and battling pretty hard. I think we opened up about a three-minute lead over the chasing bunch.”
Despite knowing a top-three result was sufficient to claim the season crown, Adrian believes he rode harder than at almost any time in the series.
He described the record-setting fourth title as a great thrill but he has no plans to call it quits: “I’ll certainly be looking to get my name on the trophy again next year too.”