The on-form combination of Adam Unsworth and passenger Stu Dawe may have their work cut out defending their Formula One sidecar title on home turf on Boxing Day.
Unsworth and Dawe went unbeaten through the Suzuki Tri Series last year, winning all six races in the series at Hampton Downs, Manfeild and the Cemetery Circuit in Wanganui. They then went on to victory on the street circuit at Paeroa in February, emphasising their dominance in the F1 ranks last season.
Unsworth is Wanganui born and bred, but has since moved to Auckland to become technical adviser for Triumph NZ.
This year the series has been confined to one round on the Cemetery Circuit in Wanganui on Boxing Day, and Unsworth confirmed he would defend the national title riding his 1000cc Windle.
"It's exactly the same bike we've been racing in recent seasons and our last outing was at Hampton Downs at Labour Weekend in October. We raced at the three-day Barry Sheen Trans-Tasman Challenge, the biggest meeting since the old Marlborough Series in the 1970s. It's a classic run event, but we (F1) were added to the meeting and Stu and I won all four races," Unsworth said.
"There were 20 lined up on the grid at Labour Weekend and to be fair, some were 600cc machines, but we went well. Our bike is running smoothly, with no major problems so far this season, so we're hoping to line up in Wanganui on Boxing Day with no excuses."
Unsworth nominated Taupo's Andy Scrivener and passenger Steve Bryant as the pre-post favourites on Boxing Day.
"Andy has the massive 1300cc Suzuki Hayabusa (GSX1300R) which has so much torque it will really suit Wanganui.
"They will be the favourites to take out the series, I think, although Chris Lawrence and his brother Ritchie (Auckland) will be right up there too.
"Chris finished second to us last season, and then there's Dwayne Bishop and Dave Dennison, who will be competitive on their home track on the Cemetery Circuit," Unsworth said.
Bishop and Dennison will ride Mike Paul's Doug Shivers-built Yamaha 1000cc, set up by Brian Bernard in Wanganui. Shivers is an Australian and former Cemetery Circuit lap record-holder.