Motorsport: Champ seeks fresh challenge

By Andy McGechan

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Mokau's Adrian Smith has nothing left to prove in New Zealand. With two national motorcycle titles in the bag for 2012, the 26-year-old Taranaki sheep and beef farmer is looking further afield and eyeing up fresh conquests on the off-road race scene with a challenging trip to the United States among his short-term plans.

The past two seasons have been stellar for the Yamaha ace, who was named Waitomo District Sportsman of the Year at the end of 2011 after a string of successes, included winning the under-300cc class at the cross-country nationals, finishing runner-up (behind Auckland's Karl Power) in the under-300cc four-stroke class at last season's national enduro championships and coming home with a gold medal from the "Olympic Games of motorcycling", the International Six Days Enduro, in Finland last November.

And the momentum from 2011 has simply rocketed on into this season.

Back in May this year, the BikesportNZ.com-sponsored rider won the New Zealand Cross-country Championships, before going on to wrap up the New Zealand Enduro Championships crown at the final round of that series, near Taupo in July, bagging class honours for winning the under-300cc four-stroke category title as well.

"It's an amazing feeling," said Smith afterwards. "I didn't even do all five rounds of the enduro nationals either. I had to skip the first round because I was injured. To win the title overall without doing all the rounds ... I don't know if that's ever been done before," he said.

But Smith now prepares for a trip to the US, where he will join fellow Kiwis Paul Whibley, of Pahiatua, and Rory Mead, of Wellington, and Scott Sowry, of Pahiatua, in racing the final three rounds of the Grand National Cross-country Championships.

Whibley (Yamaha YZ450F) leads the GNCC championship.

"I just want to dip my toes in the water over there," said Smith. "All the other riders know the tracks they're racing and it will be all new to me, so this trip will be about me learning the ropes.

"I hope to race there for a full season at some stage. It just all depends on how this trip goes, what experience I gain, what contacts I make and how much it is all going to cost.

"If I feel I can perform well and do it justice, I'll definitely do a whole season.

"I've got a good stock manager on the farm, so he can be left to run the show for me back home."

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a5 at 25 Jul 2014 09:17:44 Processing Time: 509ms