"I don't race to win, I just race to enjoy it."
Those were the words from former top international rider Ben Townley after he won both of his premier SX1 class races at the opening round of the New Zealand Supercross Championships.
In his first race at the Winton track in the South Island on Saturday, the Tauranga rider outclassed Mount Maunganui's former national supercross champion Cody Cooper for the top spot, before taking first place in race two ahead of Rangiora's Cody Murphy.
"It was great, I always enjoy going to Southland and to win for that event," Townley says.
The wins were no easy task however, with riders faced with strong winds and rain during the day.
"It was quite challenging conditions. In the morning throughout practice sessions we had extremely strong wind.
By the time it was time for racing, Townley said the rain had set in.
"It was a pretty challenging day on the track."
Winning the first of two rounds means he's in good stead sitting in the top spot going into his final round of his New Zealand Supercross Championships campaign in Tokoroa on November 23.
"I've got a lead in the championships now," he said.
Despite taking the lead, Townley says his focus when it comes to racing is enjoying the sport rather than winning and says he always enjoys being part of the Winton event, which was hosted by the Southland Motorcycle Club.
There are three rounds of the championship, but only two for the SX1 class (151cc to open 2 stroke and 251cc to open 4 stroke). The second round, which is only for SX 2 class riders (126cc to 150cc 2 stroke and 250cc 4 stroke), is on at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland this weekend.
Last year's SX1 winner, Taupō's Cohen Chase, is not defending his national title this season.
In the SX2 class Mount Maunganui Josiah Natzke and 42-year-old GP motocross star Josh Coppins are on equal points going into round two of the champs this weekend with both riders taking a win in the opening round.
In the first race on Saturday, it was defending national SX2 champion, Natzke, who won with Coppins in second place. In race two, the riders swapped places with Coppins taking first and Natzke in the runner's up position. Round one however took the win on a countback rule.
Taupō's Wyatt Chase finished third in both SX2 races and will go into this weekend's round two, which shares the programme with the fourth of the five-round Australian Supercross Championships, this weekend.
2019 New Zealand Supercross Championships calendar:
November 9: Round one at Winton.
November 16: Round 2 at Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium (SX2 class only).
November 23: Round 3 at Tokoroa.