Pukekohe's Thomas Newton has overtaken Whanganui's Tarbon Walker as the provisional leader of the inaugural Suzuki Gixxer Cup after the fifth round at Timaru's Levels Raceway over the weekend.
Held as part of the second round of the New Zealand Superbike Championship, on Saturday morning Walker was second fastest qualifier in the 15 bike field, while fellow Whanganui riders Cameron Goldfinch and Ollie Dennison were ninth and 12th respectively.
Invercargill's Michael Wilson got the pole position.
Newton came on strong in the first race in the afternoon, beating Walker by only 0.058s on the best lap times as they were the only two drivers to clear 99km for their top speed when competing with each other.
Greymouth's Clark Fountain was third, while Goldfinch was eighth and Dennison 12th.
In Race 2 on Sunday morning, it was again a 1-2 finish between Newton and Walker over the five laps, with Taupiri's Zak Fuller third.
Goldfinch and Dennison were 10th and 12th respectively.
Walker was able to make back some ground when he flipped the finishing order to beat Newton to the line in Sunday afternoon's Race 3, while Paeroa's Blake Ross was third.
Goldfinch got up to eighth while Dennision was 11th.
Timaru's Harry Parker was expected to have a good weekend, but settled for finishes of fifth, sixth and seventh in the three races.
Newton's two victories with one runnerup spot moved him slightly ahead of Newton with one win and two runnerups, although the final points tally will be adjusted after the seven round series as riders will drop their worst result.
The next round is at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park on March 3-4, with the competition wrapping up at Taupo's Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park on March 17-18.