Proving a very fast learner, Cody Webb continued to give the best in the business a run for their money by snatching his first ever stage win in what's also his debut hard enduro rally on day two of Red Bull Minas Riders.
A rider with world class skills – Webb was runner up at ErzbergRodeo in 2016 – the American is adding an exciting twist to the second edition of the Brazilian race as he challenged Graham Jarvis for overall honours for the second day in a row.
"It was insane out there, one hell of an experience," told Webb after his maiden stage win. "I've ridden some hard stuff before, but that was on another level. It was relentless for more than five hours of unforgiving terrain."
We were up in the mountains on crazy goat trails and then deep in the jungle with tight, tight trees to squeeze past. To get a stage win so soon is amazing, I’m chuffed.Cody Webb
With weather conditions in the mountains surrounding Belo Horizonte proving wet and wild once again, Webb let his riding do all the talking on day two. Riding wheel-to-wheel with Jarvis for the second half of the day, he squeezed past the 2016 Hard Enduro World Series champion on the final climb of the day to take a momentous win.
Moments later Jarvis crossed the finish to maintain his position as the overall race leader, but in a show of true sportsmanship he was full of praise for the rider who's giving him a serious run for his money.
"I'm having some close racing with Cody," explained Jarvis. "He's a cool guy and I'm enjoying battling with him like this. We seem to be pushing the pace up front. For a guy who's new to GPS navigation he's proving a fast learner.
"For most of the day we seemed to share the lead. If one of us missed a turn the other would take over. That seems to help keep the pace high and push us further in front of the rest of the field.
"The second half of the day had a lot of loose rocks and then some real tricky rock slab sections. I was leading coming into the final climb, but didn't make it first time. As I came back down Cody had a shot, made it and beat me over the finish line.
"Regardless, he had the day won because I'd started the morning first and he'd already made up those three minutes, so congratulations to him on the win. I'm expecting another good battle from him tomorrow."
Behind the leading duo it was a lonely day for defending Minas Riders champion Alfredo Gómez. Still nursing the effects of an injured shoulder on day one, Gómez ended his day nine minutes behind Webb and now sits third overall, but he's 27 minutes adrift of Jarvis with two days of racing remaining.
Sitting fourth overall, Philipp Scholz continues to impress. Ending his day about four minutes behind Gómez, the German is ready to capitalise on any mistakes by the frontrunners.
"With two off-road days done things are going well," said Scholz. "I'm sitting fourth overall, about five minutes behind Gómez in third but 10 minutes or more up on Paul Bolton in fifth.
"I had another good ride today and was able to keep pushing hard throughout the day. I spent most of it riding alone. Alfredo was just a little too fast for me to catch, but to be fourth overall at the midway point is good. I'm happy with things so far."
With two days complete, day three marks the second half of what's already proving to be a tough and unpredictable second edition of the Red Bull Minas Riders.
Red Bull Minas Riders overall standings after day 2
1. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) 10h 42m 27s
2. Cody Webb (KTM) 10h 44m 2s3
3. Alfredo Gomez (KTM) 11h 10m 19s
4. Philipp Scholz (KTM) 11h 23m 47s
5. Paul Bolton (KTM) 11h 53m 27s
6. Pol Tarres (Beta) 12h 19m 28s