The weather didn't play its part, but the riders certainly did at the opening round of the New Zealand Supercross Championships in the South Island on Saturday.
The Brent Scammell Honda-sponsored opening round of three in the Transdiesel eni Lubricants-sponsored national series was held at the popular VetSouth Super-X Track at Winton, just north of Invercargill, and, although heavy rain forced organisers to cut short the programme, the racing that did take place was certainly entertaining.
The programme was reduced from three to two races per class and Bay of Plenty's former national and United States supercross champion Ben Townley thrilled the crowd as he won both the glamorous SX1 class outings, finishing ahead of Mount Maunganui's former national supercross champion Cody Cooper in race one and ahead of Rangiora's Cody Murphy in race two.
It's worth noting that Taupo's Cohen Chase, the title winner in this class last year, is not defending his national SX1 title this season.
The SX2 (250cc) class was equally fiery, with 42-year-old former national supercross champion and former GP motocross star Josh Coppins defying his age to run with and beat many of the younger rising stars of the sport.
He accepted runner-up spot in the first of the two SX2 class races, finishing behind Mount Maunganui's 20-year-old defending national SX2 champion Josiah Natzke and he then won the next race, with Josiah this time forced to settle for second.
These two riders are therefore equal on points as they head to the next round, but Coppins is round one winner on the count-back rule, having finished higher in the last race.
Taupo's Wyatt Chase finished third both times in the SX2 class at Winton and he obviously holds onto third position overall for the series thus far.
In other results, Christchurch's Marshall Phillips won the Seniors Lites class; Invercargill's Jack Symon won the Junior Lites class; Rangiora's Korban Paget won the junior 250cc class; Darfield's Tyler Wiremu won the Junior 125cc class.
Motorcycling New Zealand supercross commissioner Jim Cooper said "the event was amazing".
"We had a lot of rain the night before, but the track was good through practice on Saturday ... then the rains came again. But the track held up well, the crowd responded enthusiastically and were really pumped up for the racing.
"The sport is going well at the moment and looks good going forward. We handed out $7500 in prize-money at Winton and the riders certainly appreciate that."
Round two of the series is for the SX2 (250cc) class riders only – sharing the programme with the fourth round of five in the Australian Supercross Championships – to be staged at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland on Saturday November 16.
The New Zealand Supercross Championships will wrap up with round three at the Amisfield circuit, on the outskirts of Tokoroa, a week after that, on November 23.
The Winton event, hosted by the Southland Motorcycle Club, was sponsored by Brent Scammell Honda, Monster Energy supports the Mt Smart Stadium event and the final round in Tokoroa is sponsored by Craig Stevens Yamaha.
2019 New Zealand Supercross Championships calendar:
Round one: 242 Ryan Road, Oreti Plains, Winton, November 9, 2019;
Round two: Mt Smart Stadium, Penrose, Auckland, November 16, 2019 (SX2 class only);
Round three: Moffat Road, Amisfield, Tokoroa, November 23, 2019.