The 2019 New Zealand Motocross Championships wrap up in Taupō this weekend with plenty still at stake, especially in the premier MX1 class.
The intense Australia-Kiwi rivalry in this year's Fox-sponsored national series has provided extra bite to the competition.
In the MX1 class Mount Maunganui's six-time champion Cody Cooper has a slim three-point advantage over defending champion, Australia's Kirk Gibbs, as they head to Taupō's Digger McEwen Motocross Park for the final showdown on Sunday.
Hamilton's Kayne Lamont holds on to third spot overall in the series and his performance at Taupō on Sunday could be crucial – the former Mangakino man a former MX1 class winner in major events at the Taupō track and almost certain to be closer to the front of the pack on Sunday.
If Lamont gets between the duelling Cooper and Gibbs, then the points calculations could fly out the window.
There is also a fierce Kiwi-Aussie battle in the MX2 (250cc) class too, with defending champion Hamish Harwood, of west Auckland, coming under fire from visiting Australians Wilson Todd and Kyle Webster during the previous rounds, with another Australian, Morgan Fogarty, also among the top five.
But, the Australian threat has been dulled somewhat with Todd crashing and injuring himself at Pukekohe's third round of the series two weeks ago, seeing him score no points in two races that day.
The Aussie threat was further diminished with Webster returning home, as planned.
Webster had only ever intended to contest rounds two and three in New Zealand this season and, even though he won two of the six races he did enter and finished no worse than third in the others, Webster's abbreviated campaign meant he really had no chance of challenging Harwood for the title.
Mangakino's Maximus Purvis has taken over second position in the standings and is now Harwood's greatest threat, but Purvis is a whopping 35 points behind the Aucklander with just three MX2 races to come at Taupō.
In the 125cc class battles, dual-class ironman Harwood has been dominant, winning all nine races in the three rounds thus far.
Battling over the runner-up spot are former national 125cc champion Ben Broad, from Ngatea, and Rotorua's Josh Bourke-Palmer, Broad ahead of Bourke-Palmer by just three points as they line up at Taupō.
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