Recently-crowned New Zealand motocross champion Cody Cooper from Papamoa holds second place after the opening round of the Australian MX Nationals on Sunday.
Suzuki team-leader Cooper posted third placings in both Pro Open (450cc) races of the series opener at the Raymond Terrace track in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales.
He's second in the championship with 60 points, trailing KTM racer Todd Waters who gained 75 points from winning both races and posting the fastest time in the Super Pole qualifying session. Scotsman Billy Mackenzie (Yamaha) is third with 58 points.
Te Puke's Logan Blackburn made a solid debut in Australian racing, in the MX Development (Under-19) category riding a Yamaha YZ250.
Blackburn, 18, who finished runner-up in the NZ 125cc title last month is sixth in the MXD championship after an 11th place in the opening moto and stepping up to finish a strong seventh in the second moto.
Papamoa's Rhys Carter had a tough start to his Pro Lites (250cc) campaign after qualifying seventh fastest on his Suzuki. Carter was 37th in the 40-rider field after a delay at the start of race one and then finished 11th in race two.
For the Pro Open and Pro Lite riders round two of the 10-round Australian Champs is at Murray Bridge, South Australia on April 28. The MX Development class will resume at round three at Victoria's Wonthaggi venue on May 5.