Taihape motocross exponent Hayden Smith will soon depart with a strong Kiwi contingent for the FIM Junior Motocross World Championships, being held in Australia this month.
The event is set to blast off at Horsham, north-west of Melbourne, on the August 25-26 weekend.
New Zealand's former 250cc motocross world champion Ben Townley believes one or two of the young Kiwis entered have a good chance of achieving a podium position at this event.
The 2004 FIM MX2 title winner, Bay of Plenty's Townley has been working with 17-year-old Smith, now based in Auckland, along with Oparau's James Scott, 16, and Tauranga's Brodie Connolly, 14, who are entering the Premier 125cc class at Horsham.
"We have done a number of sessions together, focussing on their qualifying speed," said Townley.
"This is an area that is all about numbers.
"It is a real challenge for the Kiwis because, in New Zealand, riders generally just have to show up to race but, in Europe and at GP level, there are huge fields and, if a rider is not fast at qualifying, he will miss out."
Townley has big hopes for Scott, who has been competing in Europe, while youngster Connolly is a newcomer to the grade.
"My expectations are high for Hayden too," said Townley.
"He is riding well at the moment and he is one of the older riders in the class.
"This event could be a great stepping stone to a Grand Prix career and it's really all in their own hands now."
Back in March, Smith finished fourth overall in his debut season in the MX2 class (250cc) of the NZ Motocross championships, having previously been the 2017 national champion in the 125cc class.