Stepping up among the big boys holds no fear for young Timaru motocross rider Josh May.
The 17-year-old will make his senior debut in the opening round of the New Zealand Motocross Championships, at the Backflips Track, near Pleasant Point.
The talented rider is excited by his step up, but realises the competition will be tough, so is aiming for a top-15 finish.
"It is a tough class, with Scott Columb riding really well, defending champion Darryll King, and Rhys Carter is also a shot."
Young Australian Jesse Dobson (Kawasaki) is another rider with a chance.
May is happy to be mixing it up on his home course, but won't have all the advantages a home track should bring.
"The track has lots of changes and it looks good, but no-one was allowed to practise on it before the nationals."
May, riding his Honda CRS250, said he hopes to slowly chip away at the big guns and is competing in all four rounds of the championships.
Making it slightly tougher is the fact it is only his second competitive ride since breaking his collarbone at a supercross meeting in November.
"I'm just happy to be mixing it up with them."
The MX1 class is also likely to be very competitive.
Bay of Plenty international Ben Townley (Honda) is the defending champion and has dominated key events in New Zealand in recent months, so he remains the clear favourite.
But there is a stack of exciting talent lining up against him.
Scottish former GP rider Billy Mackenzie (Yamaha) has arrived to make his New Zealand Motocross Championships debut, lining up alongside Australian high-fliers Todd Waters and Kirk Gibbs, both riding for KTM.
Of the Kiwi hopefuls, Mount Maunganui hero Cody Cooper (Suzuki) is rated the most likely to threaten Townley and the invading overseas' contingent.
The 2009 national MX1 champion, Christchurch's Justin McDonald (Honda), Rotorua's Michael Phillips (Honda), and multi former national champion Daryl Hurley (Suzuki), of Hawera, also have a good chance of scoring wins.
- South Canterbury