Lachie Cotton's choice of sport is certainly not for the faint hearted.
The 17-year-old Wanganui motocross racer has recovered from injury last year when he was literally knocked out of the top 10 in the Senior A Series in Taupo. But he aims to make amends this weekend during the 52nd annual Honda New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville.
In his first attempt in the senior division last year, Cotton rode his 2012 Honda CRF 250cc machine to win the Wanganui Senior B series.
"Then I went to the senior A series in Taupo and was sitting eighth overall, but I crashed and knocked myself out and missed the last round. I ended up 10th over all," Cotton said.
Still carrying the injury, Cotton was keen to compete at the Taupo Extravaganza during Labour Weekend last year, but was talked into pulling the pin on that event, too.
Refreshed and injury-free, the young up-and-comer is now setting his sights on a good performance this weekend at the famous event billed as the "Greatest Show On Turf".
"It will be my first big event as a senior this season and I want to use it as a yardstick to see where I'm at before doing the North Island rounds of the national series starting in March. I'm aiming to get the closest I can to a top 10 in what is the first major event for the season this weekend," Cotton said.
Cotton is contesting the MX2 250 class this year with mum Tracey and dad David, Keown Honda and Darren Patene, who owns the practice track at the end of Manuka St in Castlecliff, his major sponsors.
"It's a pretty expensive sport and while those guys are my major sponsors I get good help from other businesses in Wanganui and I'm grateful for that," Cotton said.
Meantime, Cotton will need all his skills, technique and bravery to perform at top level at the time-honoured event this weekend.
Founder of the event is Manawatu Orion Motorcycle Club life member Tim Gibbes, who was a GP motocross racer in Europe in the 1960s.
It was from a fairy-tale beginning in the 1960s that the event has flourished and matured and, remarkably, it can list current, former and future world champions among its glittering list of alumni.
The Woodville honour roll over the years reads like a who's who of leading New Zealand motocross talent and also features some of the best riders of the day from Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Sweden, England, Scotland, Wales, the United States and Australia.