Manawatu's Adam Reeves may have a sore neck by the time this
season's New Zealand Cross-country Championships wind up in
Christchurch in May.
That's because the 29-year-old Palmerston North man will be
constantly looking back over his shoulder, watching for the attack
to come from his many rivals.
The short season will reach the halfway point this weekend, with
the second of four rounds set for rugged farmland just outside
Huntly on Sunday afternoon.
The pressure is on Reeves as he attempts to make it four
national titles in a row this season and that won't be easy with
the rider line-up reading like a Who's Who of off-road motorcycle
Reeves stamped his authority on the Suzuki-sponsored series when
he won the opening round near Pahiatua last month, but he'll be
very wary of an attack by his rivals this weekend.
Reeves finished ahead of Hawke's Bay brothers Lance and John
O'Dea at round one, with New Plymouth's Renny Johnston third and
Mokau's Adrian Smith fourth, and it is perhaps these men who Reeves
must respect most.
With Sunday's senior race lasting three hours, the emphasis goes
on rider fitness and endurance, as well as machine reliability, not
to mention the element of luck, with broken bikes and broken bodies
the likely outcome when things go wrong.
In the junior class action, South Islander Ethan Bruce ruled the
roost at round one, finishing ahead of Raglan's Mathew Quirke,
Pahiatua's Scott Sowry and Pahiatua's Daniel Christie, and the same
riders should be expected to run near the front at Huntly on
The venue for Sunday's race action is Bothwell Road, Waikaretu
(signposted from SH1 Rangiriri, about 30km from the bridge).
The riders next head to the South Island for the second half of
the season, with round three set for Marlborough on April 22 and,
finally, round four near Christchurch on May 12.