Adam Reeves is again showing the sort of form that earned him three consecutive national cross-country crowns from 2009 to 2011.
The inaugural NZXC cross-country series was created this year by former Kiwi international Paul Whibley and the 33-year-old Palmerston North rider has taken to it with a passion.
After finishing fifth and first at the opening two of five rounds, Reeves is leading the series.
He is the king of Taikorea after winning the four-race Yamaha Taikorea 500 dirt bike challenge, which was round two of the NZXC series, for the second year.
Reeves convincingly won both the one-hour cross-country battles at the motorcycle park near Himatangi and followed that with fourth and second placings in the two tricky 10-minute enduro-cross sprints.
Overall runner-up on the day was seven-time national moto trials champion Jake Whitaker (Husqvarna FE250), of Wellington, with James Galpin (KTM 200 XC, Palmerston North) rounding out the podium.
With his fifth overall placing at round one of the NZXC series near Tokoroa a month earlier, Reeves now leads the series by five points from Whitaker.
Taikorea owner Whibley, the just-crowned 2015 New Zealand cross-country champion, won last month’s series opener at Tokoroa but excused himself from the round two follow-up event on his property.
“I didn’t create this NZXC series to be something for me to win ... it’s for others to enjoy.
“Besides that, I was too busy on the day making sure the event ran smoothly,” said Whibley.
Reeves said it was tougher to win this season because of intermittent rain which increased the power-sapping qualities of the sand track and made tree roots slippery.
“I knew I’d be fast at Taikorea because I ride there a lot but I was also on a different bike to the YZ250 two-stroke that I had been riding lately.
“I was on a Yamaha YZ450F four-stroke that is actually Paul Whibley’s practice bike. It wasn’t pristine and had certainly done a few hours on the engine, but it didn’t miss a beat all day.
“It’s great to have the series lead but there’s still a long way to go.”
Taupo 15-year-old Wyatt Chase wrapped up the junior grade, taking his Yamaha YZ125 to win the one-hour race well ahead of fellow Yamaha rider Lachlan Bishop (Hamilton) with Brock Sullivan (KTM 85SX, Paraparaumu) third.
It was a fairly lonely ride for Bishop too, the 15-year-old Hamilton Boys’ High student also on his own for most of the race with Sullivan a long way back.
Chase also won the junior race at the series opener in Tokoroa and therefore has a commanding series lead with three rounds remaining.
Only four of the series’ five rounds will be counted, with riders to discard their worst result.
Round three is set for Woodhill Forest, west of Auckland, on August 30 and round four at Maddix Park near Tauranga on November 14.
The series wraps up at Castlehill, near Pahiatua, on December 5.