The annual New Zealand Supercross Championships are this year likely to provide twice the amount of thrills and excitement and possibly also twice the drama.
And it all kicks off this coming weekend.
The governing body for motorcycling in this country, Motorcycling New Zealand, was thrilled recently to announce a new, expanded competition for 2017 and quickly followed up on that with news that it had also attracted massive sponsorship support from two progressive New Zealand companies – TransDiesel and Mainstream Global Logistics.
Round one of the 2017 New Zealand Supercross Championships will be at the South Waikato Motorcycle Club's resurrected supercross track at Amisfield, on the Monday afternoon of Labour Weekend, October 23.
Round two will be a week later, on October 28, and hosted by the Southland Motorcycle Club at its Winton facility.
The nationals were just one round last year, the racing solely at Winton, and the expansion to re-welcome Tokoroa into the schedule should add to the fierceness of the competition.
Bay of Plenty's Ben Townley celebrated a hat-trick of wins in the premier grade, the senior open class, although he has indicated that he won't be seeking to defend his title this season and this therefore means last year's runner-up, Mount Maunganui's Cody Cooper, is the obvious favourite to win this time around.
Last season's struggle for senior 250cc (lites) class honours was a see-saw battle between Australian visitor Richard Evans and Tauranga-based former Rangiora rider Micah McGoldrick.
They ended up sharing the honours overall, Evans scoring 1-3-2 and McGoldrick 2-1-3, although Evans got the nod on the count-back rule, his placing in the final race superior to that of McGoldrick.
With the North Island hosting a round this season, expect to see a great many more riders on the start line and possibly a few fresh faces on the podium.
Balclutha's Madison Latta won the junior 250cc title last year and Matamata's Brodie Connolly won the junior lites title, although, once again, the greater depth of talent expected to show up this year could present something of a challenge to their dominance.
Host South Waikato Motorcycle Club president Cory Duckworth says the whole region is excited to have the event return to the town.
"We have been working hard on this for months now, with help from Ben Townley and Motorcycling New Zealand," says Duckworth.
"The weather lately has caused us problems and you could count on the fingers of one hard the number of days we've been able to actually do earthmoving work on the track, but it's looking great now.
"The forecast for the weekend is good and we're looking forward to it all happening now."
Racing begins about midday Monday and is expected to be completed by about 6pm.
Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com