Kiwi Josh Coppins is one rider who cannot wait to get back into gear when the Australian motocross championships resume this weekend.
The former motocross Grand Prix star – currently in Britain on a sabbatical – is leading the Pro Open class across the Tasman after five of 10 rounds.
He is happy to have built a 21-point advantage at the halfway stage before the series shut down for a mid-calendar respite.
The CDR Yamaha ace has been "Mr Consistency" throughout the first half of his Australian campaign, finishing inside the top 10 in every race, and heads to round six at Hervey Bay in Queensland on Sunday in a confident mood.
Motueka-based Coppins said he "didn't feel good" in the last round at Murray Bridge in South Australia on May 20 but he had been hard at work over the intervening weeks and said he would again be strong at Hervey Bay.
"I had a coming together on the track with (Australian rival) Jake Moss in the third race at Murray Bridge and my bike was damaged," Coppins said.
"I managed to salvage some points by nursing it home for an eighth place finish."
That was enough for Coppins to maintain his stranglehold on the series lead although he lost some ground.
He had been 42 points in front after round four and is thankful at least that he remains comfortably in charge with five rounds remaining.
"I think I got the jump on my rivals in Australia because I was able to continue my good form after the New Zealand nationals," he said.
They finished just two weeks before he launched his Australian campaign on April 1.
"But 21 points is not really too much of an advantage.
"That can disappear very quickly. I can take nothing for granted," he said.
Coppins knows he can expect a hot time in Hervey Bay with a tight bunch of very talented riders all nipping at his heels.
Australian stars Todd Waters, Lawson Bopping and Tye Simmonds, British ace Brad Anderson and fellow Kiwi Cody Cooper, of Mount Maunganui, are all within striking range of Coppins, although the Yamaha man's nearly 20 years of Grand Prix experience gives him a distinct edge.
- The Nelson Mail