Suggest to Hawke's Bay superstock driver Jason Long he's more than ready for his national title defence in Whanganui next week and he nods his head.
But the Hawke's Bay Magpies rugby prop who is in his ninth season of racing superstocks has been around the speedway scene long enough to know it doesn't pay to be too cocky.
That's despite the fact he won all three of his heats in a 14-strong field at Meeanee on Friday night to take his win tally to six from nine starts on his home track this season. In his November 23 outing at Whanganui's Oceanview Speedway he recorded three wins and a third.
"All I can do is go over to Whanganui and give it another crack. Obviously the goal is to try to qualify on the Friday night and then see what happens on the Saturday night," Long said.
"There will be 130 drivers there, a lot more than the 88 who were in Christchurch when I won the title last season. Only the top five from each group qualifies so that's why keeping my nose clean and qualifying has to be the first goal," Long explained.
While Long, 27, agreed he couldn't be happier with his four meetings to date this season his crew, led by his father and retired Hawkeye Murray Long, will still complete a thorough checking process on his car before travelling to Whanganui on Thursday.
He had comfortable wins in his first two heats on Friday night but was pushed hard by fellow host track driver Zach Glenny before securing the chequered flag in the feature.
Round four of eight in the Burger King Pro Dirt Super Saloon Series was the feature attraction at the meeting. It attracted 19 starters.
Mount Maunganui's Sam Waddell, who started the round 83 points behind fellow Bay Park contracted driver and 2NZ Chris Cowling, won the 30-lap feature to take out the round and establish an 18-point lead at the top of the points table.
"My number [18M] must be a lucky number," Waddell, quipped afterwards.
During the feature, Waddell, who is also a nationally ranked karter with international experience, set a new track lap record of 16.10 seconds. This beat the previous record of 16.22s set by Hawke's Bay's two-time national champion Steve Flynn in April, 2015.
"That record was a bonus on a track like that," Waddell said referring to the fact rain during the previous two days had contributed to mixed track conditions throughout the meeting.
A Four Square store manager, Waddell, is in his fourth season in the class. This was his first round win this season. He finished second in the series last season and earlier this season won the North Island championship in Wellington.
Despite the track conditions there was some spectacular racing from the super saloon drivers, particularly during the pole shuffle for the top six drivers. Mount Maunganui's Bodie Abrahamson was given pole shuffle honours after he was shoved into the wall by Cowling after Cowling lost his battle with the track.
Abrahamson couldn't start the 30-lap feature because his car collected too much damage. Another Mount Maunganui driver, Matt Smith, was second in the feature and Flynn did the best of the six host-track starters with his third placing from grid six.
Despite not finishing the feature, Cowling is second on the series leaderboard. Mount Maunganui's Scott Hayward is 15 points behind Cowling in third place, Flynn is 41 points behind Hayward in fourth place and his brother and series organiser Grant Flynn, who is a further 65 points back, completes the top five.
Track conditions weren't suitable for the Hawke's Bay sidecar championship which was postponed to a later date yet to be confirmed. This was a pity as 14 crews, the most in at least five seasons, had fronted for the event.
Thirteen streetstock drivers made the most of their final opportunity to race at the venue for the January 10 and 11 nationals. The host track trio of 3NZ Brent Redington, Shaun Kingi and Dave "The Sheriff" Brand all had victory laps.
Third generation racer Tylar Flynn, a son of Grant, and fellow Hawke's Bay drivers Bailey Smith, Liam Danielsen and Ryan Dorward had heat wins in the 29-strong ministock class.
Flynn flipped out of contention in the feature and his clubmate Keegan Bunce claimed driver of the night honours with his first podium finish, a third placing, in heat three.
The 5000 spectators enjoyed the 26-car ramp derby which ended the meeting and lasted 20 minutes.
Former Hawke's Bay stockcar driver Matt Gautrey, who won the sole warm-up heat for the class earlier in the night, had a spectacular flip over the ramp a couple of laps before Hawke's Bay's Leigh Ellwood was declared the winner.