A five-week break in the Australian Motocross Nationals schedule has seen Mount Maunganui's Rhys Carter back in action in local racing and fine-tuning his riding technique.
Carter is eighth in the Australian MX1 standings and is aiming to establish himself as a top-five performer through the second half of the season with the Complete Parts Kawasaki Racing squad.
He'll be well-prepared when the Australian series resumes this weekend with the sixth of 10 rounds at Conondale in Queensland, fresh from back-to-back MX1 wins at Taupo's big Battle of Clubs meeting.
Carter led home former MX2 world champ Ben Townley (KTM) in both races at Taupo on Saturday and his second win needed a determined fightback after a bad start and an early tangle with another rider.
He says the format of the Australian series works well.
''It's perfect timing. We have five rounds in Aussie over the first two months and then a break,'' says Carter.
''That's good if you're injured so you can heal up but in my case there's things I wanted to work on to get better.
''I've been able to go to the Michael Godfrey memorial race (in Canterbury at Queen's Birthday weekends) and the Battle of the Clubs and be at the Feildays for Kawasaki New Zealand.
''And I've had time to iron out a couple of kinks and progress to a higher level in my riding.''
Carter is happy with his half-year performance in Australia.
''I've been consistent. The first two rounds I finished seventh in every moto.''
''I had a fifth at the third round and I got Super Pole at the fourth round and was running fourth when I came over a jump and there was tyre in a hole where I was landing. I just went straight over the bars.
''That hurt my day and going into Murray Bridge (round five) I was still feeling the effects from it. I finished fifth in the first race at Murray Bridge but didn't quite have the same for the second race.
''My speed is really good. Upping my game in the second moto is the big key going into the next five rounds.
''I went there thinking I'd be around seventh but I know I can be inside the top-five and that's what I want to be doing.
''My team over there is awesome. It's been fun and they are a level-headed team and an exciting team to be with.
''The goal is to be consistently top five. I know I can get a podium but I need to take little steps and get used to the top-five pace.''
Carter finished fourth in the New Zealand Championship earlier this year and says the Australian series is a step up in pace and has deeper competition.
''It's a lot deeper. There's more professionalism and the intensity is a lot higher. Dean Ferris (the championship leader) is on a very hot pace and I believe he could win anywhere in the world at the moment.
''It's definitely another step up from New Zealand but it's a cool challenge.''
After this weekend's Conondale round the Australian Nationals has a double header weekend at Raymond Terrace, NSW on July 14-15 followed by races at Gladstone in Queensland on August 5 and the final at Coolum Beach on August 12.
Also in action at the weekend was Mt Maunganui's Cody Cooper who had a mixed fifth round of the Lucas Oils Pro Motocross Championship in the US.
Racing in Tennessee, Cooper only managed 20th in the opening moto but improved to 11th in the second race. He is ninth in the championship heading to round six at Southwick, Massachusetts this weekend.