Daniel Mettam and Sloan Frost shared the feature race wins during the second round of the 2017 Suzuki Series at Manfeild, but Taupo's Scott Moir did enough to retain the overall lead.
Aucklander Mettam didn't have race one all his own way in the F1 Superbike class however, as Moir rocketed off the line and led the fast-track pack until the final turn of the opening lap where he almost crashed. Mitch Rees of Whakatane took over the lead on lap two with fast-starting Northern Ireland rider Lee Johnson hot on his heels as he quickly came up to speed during his first New Zealand visit.
Mettam held third at this early stage of the race, although he put a nice pass on Johnson. Frost held fourth when Tony Rees crashed at turn one. A following rider clipped Rees' hand as he slid off the track, which may force the 50-year-old veteran to miss defending his Robert Holden Memorial title at Whanganui on Boxing Day.
At the same time a fierce battle developed between Mettam and Mitch Rees and Frost ran off the track shortly afterwards, which effectively put him last as the high-speed freight train had 11 riders within 200m of the leaders all race long.
Mitch Rees made a late charge to the line, however it was Mettam who took a well-earned win by a bike length. Third was New Plymouth rider Hayden Fitzgerald who passed Johnson near the end of the race to snatch the final podium spot, ahead of Moir and Alastair Hoogenboezem, of Christchurch.
In what must be one of the closest F1 Superbike finishes ever, the top 10 riders finished within 11 seconds of the leader.
Race two was yet another torrid battle between several riders who all wanted victory in front of the large Manfeild crowd. Frost shot into the lead at the start with Mettam, Moir, Fitzgerald and Johnson hot on his heels.
Frost was pushed all the way to the line as Mettam and Moir constantly swapped places behind the Wellington rider. The high-speed group went on to take the chequered flag in that order.
In the sizzling heat Mitch Rees struggled to maintain the same traction level as the opening leg and held fourth to race end, with Fitzgerald right behind.
Again, all the riders were on pace and the top nine places crossed the finish line within 11 seconds.
With 89 points Moir retains his lead in the 2017 Suzuki Series as he heads to one of his favourite tracks, the famous Cemetery Circuit at Whanganui on December 26. Behind him Mettam and Mitch Rees are tied on 82 points so there will be no rest and everything to play for at the street circuit.
The last person to win at Whanganui other than Tony Rees is Moir, in 2014.