It's that time of year again as the Wanganui Roller Sports club is staging the 10th anniversary of their St John's Club Rivercity Speed Skating Tour this weekend around the township.
Skaters from across the country are entered for the event which will feature stages for the different disciplines, beginning with time trials at Kowhai Park on Saturday morning at 9.30am, followed by indoor sprints at Jubilee Stadium at 1pm and then outdoor at the Mitre 10 Mega carpark at 6.45pm.
On Sunday, the action switches to Manfeild Autocourse for the final two long distance stages, starting at 9.30am.
Spokesman Ken Smith said after this, there will be a Skate NZ TriSkate event, which is run for all-comers, and consists of a skate, bike and run multi-sport competition.
In the Premier Men's grade, Whanganui's New Zealand Senior champion Andrew Jones will take on former Rivercity tour champion Antony Nalder of Valley Inline.
Smith said Nalder is "strapping on his skates in anger" for the first time since a break from the sport to pursue his road cycling career.
Further competition will come from Dunedin's former World Masters champion Brett McCormack, along with his son Mark.
The Premier Women's grade will see teammates from New Zealand's world championships squad battling it out in local Renee Teers and Manawatu's Serenity Griffith.
They will take on last year's champion in Whanganui's Monique Cleeve, who is making a comeback for the event, and indoor specialist Georgia Hurley from Valley.
Smith said a feature of this year's tour will be the strong fields for the Masters, with Manawatu's Andy McDonell taking on the "exuberant style" of Whanganui's Paul Cleeve and Jerome Allen.
"The mother-daughter duo of Krystine Davies and Melissa White should have too much experience for the Masters Ladies, but there will be a lot of interest in how newcomers Crystle Denbee and Debra Smith deal with Lynley Crawford – an Australian-based ex-NZ skater returning to the class after a break"
The closest racing should come in the B Grade where Whanganui's trio of juniors in Chase Morpeth, Drew Brennan and Josh Valentine take on Hamilton speedster Jake Duggan and Nelson's Jamie Manson.
Smith said Blenheim's Erin Green will be a favourite for the C grade, but if she is not on the top of her game then Whanganui's Tazia Parker "will be all over her".
"The enigma that is the talented Keria Hodgson should not be discounted, nor the sheer determination of Mikalya Wasson."
The Juvenile Grade should see a great duel between Whanganui's Mickey Zhang and Nelson rival Liam MacDonald, with the fast improving Nathan Bedford and his Manawatu teammate Katie McIlhatton providing the opposition.
The public is welcome to watch all stages with no cover charge.