Cody Webb and Patrick Smage traded wins at the opening two rounds of the AMA/NATC National MotoTrial Series near the West Texas town of Blackwell.
The Beta-mounted Webb topped Smage by 11 points on the opening day of the two-day event to take the initial lead in the series standings, however it was Smage on the Sherco 2.9 holding the advantage at the end of one lap.
The two title hopefuls had little trouble with most of the sections in the dry-slick event, but near the end of the first lap Webb took a five when he displaced a marker in section 12, perhaps the toughest section of the trial. Smage managed a two on the section and finished the lap with a total of three, while Webb finished with six.
On lap two, Smage failed to make a big wall in section four, a section that Webb would clean. Both riders cleaned the tricky 12th section, and at the end of the second lap Webb had a total of six points, having cleaned the entire loop, while Smage had a total of nine.
With only three points separating the two heading into the final lap, it was clear that the win would go to the one who best kept his composure. Webb cruised through the final go-round dropping a one on the wall at section four and a one on section 12. Meanwhile, Smage suffered fives in each of those sections, giving Webb the win, eight points to 19.
Gas Gas USA's Keith Wineland struggled on the opening lap, dropping 25 points in all, 20 of which were the result of fives. However, the Colorado rider settled down on his second and third laps, posting loop scores of six and five for a total of 36 and third place.
Sherco USA's Bryan Roper was a solid fourth with a total of 91 points and 12 cleans, while Gas Gas USA's Eric Storz was fifth in his Pro debut with a score of 93.
On day two, Smage evened up the score by edging out Webb by a single point to take the win.
Smage and Webb turned in identical six-point scorecards after the opening lap of the 14-mile, 12-section course, each rider taking a single dab early in the lap, plus a five in the difficult ninth section, which featured a "Monster" rock ledge that was only conquered twice all day. The section certainly got the attention of the entire Pro division, however it would be a much easier section that would ultimately decide the outcome of the event.
On the second lap, Smage cleaned the entire lap, with the exception of section nine, which he once again fived. Webb also fived nine again, but in section eight he took what he called "an uncalled for point" when he landed from what should have been a simple maneuver. That point would come back to haunt the Beta rider as the final lap was again a wash between the top two contenders with each dropping a single point: all cleans and a one on section nine.
In the end, Smage landed on top of the box with a total of 12 points, with Webb taking the runner-up position with 13. Wineland was again third after dropping 39 points, followed by Roper in fourth with 60.
Karl Davis Jr. (60) and Andrew Oldar were fifth and sixth, respectively, while Eric Storz (83) and Shad Petersen (120) rounded out the top eighth.