A record number of entries has been received for tonight's Oreti Park Speedway Burt Munro Challenge meeting.
More than 30 entries have been received from around the country to take on the Southland riders for the sought-after titles on offer.
The prestige of the Burt Munro Challenge has been enough for national sidecar champions Paul Humphrey and Ben Franklin, of Palmerston North, to head south to take on 28 other sidecar teams.
They will be keen to take the title north, but some of the Southland pairings have been in hot form in recent weeks and we can expect to see the likes of Kevin McDonald and Karl Hosie, Luke Thwaites and Neville Chalmers, and Shaun Kerr and Dallas Kelman among other local teams, battle hard to keep the title in Southland.
Another pairing not to be discounted is Lionel Green and Shane Breach, of Christchurch.
This team has won more titles at the Oreti Park track in the past two years than any other pairing.
Derek Ramsay and Tony Hislop, of Palmerston North, have been national frontrunners in recent years, while Australians Ricky Cane and Regan Feck have made the trip across the Tasman.
Southland rider Grant Tregoning will be wanting to extinguish the memories of the recent opening night at the Oreti Park Speedway when the former national champion blew an engine and then a tyre to cap off a bad night on the dirt.
He has turned things around in the past two weekends, winning races at Rosebank in Auckland and Moore Park in Christchurch.
He will also be one of the favourites in the solo field to take the Burt Munro Challenge title.
Tregoning will certainly have his work cut out with another national title holder, Dale Finch, entered along with fellow Christchurch rider Andy Aldridge and Aucklander Ryan Terry-Daley, who has competed in the United Kingdom the past two New Zealand offseasons.
Other Southland riders to watch are New Zealand under-21 champion Jack McRae and former Burt Munro champion Paul Hayes.
Solo Classics will also be another closely contested class at the Burt Munro Challenge.
Crowd favourite Kevin Ryan, of Greymouth, will once again be completing.
Ryan takes part in every event at the Burt Munro Challenge and has done so for the past few years, a huge feat over five disciplines.
Ryan will face his toughest challenges from the likes of Mark Pavitt, of Christchurch, and recent Southland champion John Tuffley.
Oreti Park will also welcome back the kids on the Pee Wees at the Burt Munro Challenge.
This class had to be cancelled at the season opener because of flooding.
Other classes competing at the Burt Munro Challenge are Solo Support, and Junior Solos 200cc and 125cc, all with a good mix of Southland and out-of-town riders.
Racing starts at 5pm.
- The Southland Times