It's full throttle time as the popular Dirt Guide Cross-country Series jolts the Central North Island again this weekend.
It is the second round of three in the series, set for a venue called Pylons, near Atiamuri on Saturday, with a casual trail ride to follow at the same venue the next day.
The Pylons course is set out at Tirohanga Road, just one kilometre from State Highway 1 at Atiamuri.
"The track at Pylons is the most open of the series and most of the course has had the bulldozer around it, clearing paths," said organiser Sean Clarke.
"We had a big storm earlier in the year and about 300 trees came down across the track and the easiest way to get rid of them was just to bulldoze them out of the way," he explained.
"We have had a fair bit of rain this week, but, as long as it's not raining on the day, the track will be perfect. The soil at Pylons is a lot more free draining than at (the previous round venue of) Tar Hill."
The series typically attracts many of the top national championship contenders, and Clarke expects leading national enduro rider Chris Power, of Auckland, will make the journey.
Power won round one and will be keen to consolidate his position at the top on Saturday.
Fellow Aucklander Mike Skinner pushed Power hard at round one and he will be looking to reverse the finish order this weekend.
Auckland's Sam Greenslade, Palmerston North's Adam Reeves and Hamilton's Sam Brown also rate among the favourites to win on Saturday.
As well as a two-hour race for the country's senior elite, two new classes have been added for this season's fifth annual running of the Dirt Guide Cross Country Series, increasing the opportunity for involvement by and the development of the country's younger riders.
The new classes are for children aged between six and 10 years and they will use a separate track from the juniors - the two classes will be 6-10 years motocross and 6-10 years trail bikes.
"These classes will race at the same time as the junior race and be 75 minutes duration," said Clarke.
"This is the fifth time I have run the series and each time it is getting bigger and bigger," said Clarke, a former International Six Days Enduro medal winner and multi-time former national enduro champion.
He said there were classes to cater for all ages and abilities with the senior grade split in to two sections, for intermediate and expert riders. There are separate categories also for women and veteran riders.
The junior race starts at 9.30am and the two-hour senior race starts at 12.30pm.
The cross-country series is run parallel with but separate to the Dirt Guide Trail Ride Series, with that phase of the weekend's action set for the same venue following day.
More than 120 senior riders lined up for the start of the Kiwi Rider-supported Dirt Guide series at round one and it looks like being a well-subscribed series once again this season.
CALENDAR (trail ride on day two in each case):
Round one, Tar Hill, Tokoroa, April 28-29.
Round two, The Pylons, Atiamuri, May 19-20.
Round three, Whakamaru, June 30-July 1.
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