Whanganui's Seth Reardon now has a 23 point lead on top of the 2019 New Zealand Enduro Championships after coming runnerup to the fifth different winner in Bideford, Masterton on Saturday.
Rotorua's Bradley Lauder claimed the top spot on the demanding farmland course, the fifth round of seven in the Yamaha and Mitas Tyres-sponsored series, and with that he has elevated himself from ninth to third equal overall in the title chase.
Helensville's Tom Buxton won Round 1 of the series near Whangamata in March, Cambridge rider Dylan Yearbury clinched his win at Round 2 near Porirua in April, Thames rider Chris Birch topped the podium at Round 3 near Tokoroa two weeks later and then Reardon won Round 4 near Martinborough three weeks ago.
After Lauder and Reardon, Wainuiomata's Jake Whitaker finished third on Saturday, while Cambridge's Beau Taylor and Tokoroa's Jake Wightman rounded out the top five.
Lauder won four of the day's five high-speed "special tests", and ended the full day's racing 1m 14s ahead of Reardon, while Whitaker finished his day 53s further back.
Whitaker is now level with Lauder at third overall in the series standings, representing a great improvement for Whitaker, who had been ranked seventh overall after Round 4.
The 33-year-old Lauder took a cautious approach to his racing on Saturday.
"The course was a mix of open farmland, with some pine tree sections too, and I was on minute one, among the first riders to be sent onto the track.
"I thought I'd be cunning and let the other two riders with me go ahead, so that I'd have wheel tracks to follow and it worked out for me."
Reardon currently holds the ace cards in terms of overall championship glory – he is leading the standings after five rounds and the rider immediately behind him, Waikato's Taylor, is a massive 23 points adrift.
Reardon will be hoping he can hang on to the lead when the competitors next race, at the double-header final weekend, Rounds 6-7, in Hokitika in three weeks' time, on July 19-20.
With the scores from only six of the seven rounds to be counted – riders to discard their one worst result – the race for the championship win outright, and for the various class titles too, could still go down to the wire at Hokitika.