More than 500 riders will be in action at Rotorua this weekend for the BMX New Zealand National Championships at the new international-quality track at Waipa.
More than 50 winners from last year, in both the Challenge (20" diameter wheel) and Cruiser (24") classes, will be competing in the championships, which are supported by Red Stag Timber, Permapine, Spark Business Hub and O'Sullivan & Clemens.
The major focus will be on the women's elite class, in which New Zealand is qualifying one rider for the Tokyo Olympics at this stage, with more qualifying events scheduled to take place later in the year.
While the weekend does not hold any qualifying points, a national title will secure confidence and bragging rights, with Rebecca Petch (Te Awamutu) defending her championship in a likely battle against 2019 junior world champion Jessie Smith (Hamilton).
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Missing will be 2012 Olympic medallist Sarah Walker (Rotorua), who has decided not to take undue risk after shoulder surgery late last year.
North Harbour's Michael Bias will defend his elite men's crown, chasing his third title in four years. His major challenge is expected from last year's runner-up Rico D'Anvers (Canterbury), with the 2019 runner-up Cole McOnie out due to injury.
There will be interest in the performances of the Auckland pair of Oliver Hanham and Cameron Jago, both from the Mountain Raiders club and part of Cycling New Zealand's Schick Civil Performance Hub programme.
The Challenge and Cruiser classes begin on Saturday with their qualifying motos with a number of former world championship winners and podium placegetters in the field including the likes of Adam Coker, Tim Ferguson, hometown favourite Dave Mohi, Megan Williams and Toni James, along with the incomparable Cambridge rider Leila Walker, who has won her age group every year since taking up the sport as an 8-year-old. She is in her final year in the 16 years class before stepping into the junior elite division.
Also racing in junior elites is North Harbour's Rico Bearman, also part of the Performance Hub, who won the cruiser world title when it was last held in 2019.
Qualifying motos begin on Saturday, with further rounds on Sunday along with finals, with a Jump Jam to provide action on Saturday night.
The championships will also be streamed live on the Sky Sport Next YouTube channel.