It is just a few days until the Australian Motocross championships resume after their mid-season break and Kiwi Josh Coppins is one rider who is itching to get back into gear.
The former motocross Grand Prix star - currently in the United Kingdom on sabbatical - is leading the Pro Open Class across the Tasman after five of 10 rounds, happy to have a 21-point advantage at the halfway stage when the series shut down for a mid-calendar interval.
The CDR Yamaha Team rider has been "Mister Consistency" throughout the first half of his Australian campaign - finishing inside the top 10 in every single race thus far - and he heads to round six at Hervey Bay, in Queensland, on Sunday (July 1) in a confident mood.
Motueka-based Coppins said he "didn't feel good" at the last round - at Murray Bridge, South Australia, on May 20 - but he has been hard at work over the intervening weeks and says he will again be strong at Hervey Bay this weekend.
"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. 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 he is thankful at least that he remains comfortably in charge with five rounds to go.
"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 (which had wrapped up at Taupo two weeks before his Australian campaign launched 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."
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 Kiwi hero Cody Cooper, of Mount Maunganui, are all within strike range of Coppins, although the Yamaha man's nearly 20 years of Grand Prix experience give him a distinct edge.
Rotorua's Michael Phillips is another rider among the Pro Open Class points in Australia, although he finds himself down in 19th spot overall after picking up an injury.
Other Kiwis racing across the Tasman this season include Christchurch's Justin McDonald and Queenstown's Scotty Columb, currently eighth and 11th respectively in the MX2 (250cc) class standings, while BikesportNZ.com rider Kayne Lamont, of Mangakino, is lighting up the Under-19s class, second in the series rankings after dominating the previous two rounds.
Rotorua's John Phillips is 12th and Atiamuri's Dion Picard 13th in the U19 standings.By Andy McGechan Email Andy