It was another dominant display by the leading riders at round two of the popular Woodhill Two-man Cross-country series and the pressure goes off now for Kaukapakapa's Josh Jack and Muriwai's Luke Mobberley as they prepare for the third and final round in just three weeks.
Mobberley (Yamaha YZ125) tag-teamed with Colemans BikesportNZ.com Suzuki RM-Z250 rider Jack to win the opening round of the series in the Woodhill Forest at the end of July and that combo proved a winning one again at the second round four weeks later, the dynamic duo the only riders to complete seven laps in the allotted three hours.
They couldn't afford to relax too much, however, with Yamaha mates Callan May (Titirangi) and Mitchell Nield (Hokianga) never far behind.
Third overall at round two were the team of Auckland's Shaun Fogarty (Kawasaki) and Silverdale's Aiden Kiff (Husqvarna).
While the two-rider teams dominated the event, a handful of solo riders had threatened to cause a huge upset earlier in the day.
Three-time former and current national cross-country champion Adrian Smith, from Mokau, had been tipped to upset the Jack/Mobberley pairing and take the outright win at round two - though he was again riding solo. He proved his potential to win when he had fought through from 11th spot on the start grid to place fourth overall at round one.
Smith battled hard on his Blackwood BikesportNZ.com Yamaha YZ250 to bash handlebars with Masterton's Reuben Vermeer (Yamaha YZ450F) for solo class dominance and for the outright lead as well, but he then became victim of his own aggression, running his fuel tank dry by halfway.
"I think perhaps I was just being a little bit too aggressive and it eventually cost me," said the 27-year-old.
"By me being aggressive with the throttle meant I used a lot more fuel than I should have. I ran out just one kilometre from the pits but it was too far to push the bike back, refuel, rejoin the race and still expect a good result.
"I'm naturally disappointed to run out of gas. It's the first time I've done that in about three years but it is an occupational hazard."
Wairarapa's Vermeer finished fourth overall, just ahead of another solo rider, Palmerston North's three-time former national cross-country champion Adam Reeves (BikesportNZ.com Yamaha YZ450F).
May and Mobberley lead the series overall with just the final round set for the Woodhill Forest on September 29, while Reeves is the new leader in the solo section, three points clear of Vermeer.
It will be interesting to see if riders such as Jack, Mobberley, May, Nield, Smith, Reeves and Vermeer can also feature near the front at the final round of the Yamaha New Zealand Enduro Championships near Tokoroa on September 21 and at the Suzuki Six-Hour dirt bike marathon between Tokoroa and Taupo on October 5.