The always popular Suzuki International Series will open in Taupō, with organisers swamped with entries from and interest to be part of the season.
Organiser Allan "Flea" Willacy says the international series road-race competition, which gets under way at Taupō's Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park on December 7-8, will be massive and expects to have trouble fitting all entries in.
The popular three-round series, which heads to Manfeild the week after the Taupō round before wrapping up on Whanganui's famous Cemetery Circuit on Boxing Day – is New Zealand's richest motorcycle competition and it has again attracted a huge overseas contingent, with top riders arriving from the United Kingdom, France and Australia, including Isle of Man and British Superbike Championship winners among them.
British rider Richard Cooper, Ireland's Lee Johnston and Frenchman Morgan Govignon are the main draw-card entrants this year.
Cooper is the British Superbike Championships (BSB) Superstock Champion for 2019 and his performance as a newcomer at this year's North West 200 was a definite highlight of that iconic event. He will race in New Zealand for the Sloan Frost Motorsport Team.
Johnston is the 2019 Isle of Man TT winner, icing on a cake to his 2019 season that also saw him win the Scarborough Gold Cup and finish runner-up in the Ulster GP. He raced in New Zealand at the Suzuki Series in 2017 and he returns this year riding a BMW1000 under the M1 Motorsport NZ banner.
Govignon will be riding in the Bears Class. He will also be riding a special one-off Voxan in memory of good friend of his, Fabrice Miguet, who died at the Ulster GP.
Meanwhile, fellow French rider Estelle Leblond and Belgium's Frank Claeys will also debut at the Suzuki International Series in December.
Leading French sidecar driver Leblond is set to link up with fellow accomplished high-calibre Isle of Man Mountain Course exponent Claeys for racing at Taupō, Manfeild and Whanganui.
Both Leblond and Claeys respectively have impressive Isle of Man TT records, which include securing between them nine top-15 finishes and overall 13 top-20 finishes. Another French rider, Xavier Denis, will also debut in New Zealand this summer.
Australian-based rider Steve Marshall first raced in New Zealand during the NZ Marlborough Series 1977 and moved to Australia in 1979. Teamed up with Australian Murray Stronach, the duo competed in multiple Western Australian and State Championships sidecars events, gaining many titles. Marshall retired in 1995 but came back in 2016 with Stronach. They both came out to New Zealand in 2017 for the Suzuki Series and have returned, bringing two of Steve's sons who will also compete.
Australian brothers Morgan and Dion Marshall will race in New Zealand for the Marshall Brothers Racing Team, wanting to take the opportunity to race against their father on overseas circuits, which is what brings them to this year's Suzuki International Series.
The international stars won't be having things all their own way, with New Zealand riders also world class competitors.
Suzuki's former national and Suzuki Series champion in the F1 class, Wellington's Sloan Frost, will be determined to win again, while last year's Suzuki Series outright winner and fellow Suzuki rider Scott Moir, from Taupō, and Suzuki's 2019 national superbike champion Daniel Mettam, from Glen Eden, won't be taking a back seat either.
The Suzuki International Series also offers races for Formula Three, Classics (pre-89), sports bikes, super motard bikes and sidecars, so there's no shortage of on-track action.
The always-popular GIXXER Cup class returns to the programme again this year with the rider age-limit restriction lifted, meaning individuals such as Frost, Moir and Mettam are expected also to line up and give talented youngsters something to really think about.