Monday, February 20

REEVES STARTS TITLE DEFENCE WITH A WIN

Manawatu’s Adam Reeves has started is national off-road motorcycling title defence in the best way possible – by winning.

The 29-year-old Palmerston North man stamped his authority on the first of four rounds of the Suzuki-sponsored 2012 New Zealand Cross-country Championships near Pahiatua on Sunday.

“I had a reasonable start. I was inside the top 10 and quickly made my way up to fourth,” said the Yamaha ace.

He was in the lead less than a lap later and never looked back from there.

“The track had a bit of everything. It was greasy to start off with because of the early morning dew and slick grass.”

But it soon dried out and Reeves had extended his lead to seven minutes at the end of the three-hour race.

Reeves finished ahead of Hawke’s Bay brothers Lance and John O’Dea , with New Plymouth’s Renny Johnston third and Mokau’s Adrian Smith fourth.

Meanwhile, in the junior class action, South Islander Ethan Bruce ruled the roost, finishing ahead of Raglan’s Mathew Quirke, Pahiatua’s Scott Sowry and Pahiatua’s Daniel Christie.

Motorcycling New Zealand cross-country commissioner Chris Smyth said he was impressed with the rider turn-out.

“It drizzled and was very slippery but it dried out and all the riders seemed to enjoy it,” said Smyth, of Dannevirke.

“It got quite rough in the end and really sorted the men from the boys.”

The next round is set for Huntly on March 25, before heading to the South Island for rounds three and four, in Marlborough on April 22 and, finally, near Christchurch on May 12.