A talented three-man Kiwi motocross squad is revved up to race in the Netherlands this weekend.
Taupō's Wyatt Chase, Mangakino's Maximus Purvis and Christchurch's Dylan Walsh are heading to the event to challenge, and hopefully beat, the best riders in the world.
Every year, the Motocross of Nations (MXoN) lives up to its billing as the biggest and best dirt bike spectacle on the planet and this weekend the teams racing event will be held on the infield of the famous Assen TT circuit in the Netherlands.
The MXoN, commonly referred to as "the Olympic Games of motocross", is a one-weekend affair which brings together the word's elite.
The racers put aside the past season's rivalries from domestic or world championship competitions and unite instead along different battle lines, with three-rider teams formed up to fly the flags of their respective homelands.
It is a completely fresh trio in the Kiwi team, with all three riders from last season ruled out for 2019 either because of injury or for personal reasons.
Chase, Purvis and Walsh will be making their MXoN debuts at the 73rd edition of the event.
New Plymouth's former motocross world champion Shayne King shares managerial duties for the New Zealand team with experienced former national-level racer Darren Henderson.
King was the 1996 500cc motocross world champion and a rider for New Zealand at the MXoN many times in the past. He said the race track at Assen would be "brutal" and Kiwi riders should be under no illusions about how tough it will be.
"Every year it's the toughest motocross event in the world but the circuit at Assen will be particularly challenging. It's very deep sand, like nothing New Zealand riders will have encountered before."
The Kiwis know it won't be easy facing the world's elite on such a massive stage but each of them is determined to put on another good showing, hopefully to improve upon their 17th overall placing last year.
From rookie first-timers in 1984 to top-10 regulars just over 10 years later, Kiwi motocross riders have boxed well above their weight and often rated among some of the best in the world.
Team New Zealand has finished among the top 10 an incredible 14 times in 29 appearances at the event since they first attended in 1984.
New Zealand has finished third on the podium three separate times – in England in 1998, in Belgium in 2001 and in England again in 2006.
With generous support for this year's campaign coming from the sport's governing body here, Motorcycling New Zealand, and from building companies Penny Homes and Best Build Construction, along with massive fundraising undertaken by the Taupō Motorcycle Club with their Battle of the Clubs fundraiser in June, the Kiwi contingent will arrive in the Netherlands in a confident mood.
Motorcycling New Zealand (MNZ) motocross commissioner Ray Broad said this was a huge event and extremely important that New Zealand would again be taking part.
"We are pleased to have three of our talented young riders representing New Zealand this year.
"Dylan, Wyatt and Max have a great opportunity and, under the guidance of Darren and Shayne, I am sure they will give it their best and none of them underestimate the task ahead," he said.