After being scratched in 2020 due to Covid-19, organiser Dan Cowper is raring to go for the return the Suzuki Extreme 4x4 Challenge.
The all-star event is all set for its sixth edition tomorrow, with Cowper making some changes to spice up the action.
"The competitors are really keen, it's the last race of the season," he said.
"Especially because we didn't have one last year, I think the spectators will be keen to come out. It really is an action-packed day."
The Extreme Challenge, designed to be a fan-friendly day full of adrenaline, changed from being invitation-only to qualifying by finishing in the Top 10 overall of the national series in 2019.
As the event didn't go ahead in 2020, Cowper said he has invited the top 10 of the 2020 and 2021 seasons to compete in the event.
"There were three different people that qualified in the top 10 in 2021, so that brings us to 13 competitors."
One of those three extras is Whanganui's former national champion Hamish Auret, who has produced several highlight reel moments including his 360-degree flip in 2016 and spectacular tyre obstacle jump in 2018's event.
At Cowper's Turakina property, 12 courses have been set up with various challenges and hurdles.
Each course has 10 gates, with drivers getting 100 points for each gate they go through, with a max of 1000 points on the line for each course.
Cowper said they were trying something new for this year's event, by introducing a 60 second time limit for driver's to complete each course.
He has also tweaked the rules to allow drivers to stop and reverse as many times as they want, allowing him to create some more difficult challenges and courses.
"If they get stuck, they are allowed to reverse and back off and have another crack. But they only have 60 seconds, so they don't want to muck around in one spot."
This change should allow for a more spectator-friendly experience, while adding in a bit of a strategic element for the drivers.
"The crowd want them to attempt everything. Some guys might try a hard bit at the start of the course and get stuck, and that's their whole run over.
"It will be quite a challenge and strategy will definitely come into play. If they can see a gate they might spend a lot of time they might muck around on, and there are some easier gates at the end, they may skip that hard gate and go to the end."
Cowper said he has done some significant sponsorship fundraising over the last year to put the event on and secure TV rights.
The advantage of the 13-truck field, as opposed to 40 trucks at national rounds, is that the obstacle conditions remain virtually the same, rather than getting worn down by the time the last drivers attempt them, Cowper said.
Spectators have a good view of the whole course from the adjacent hillside, while there will be commentary and an electronic scoreboard to keep them informed of the points standings.
"Everyone is pretty keen to have a crack. At this time of year, it is all greened up and the track is quite greasy. Let's hope we get a day like this and the sun is out," said Cowper.
"But to be honest, it is called Extreme 4x4 Challenge for a reason. If it's snowing or hailing, we will still be doing it."
The Extreme Challenge starts at 9am at the Cowper's Turakina property at No 2278 on State Highway 3, with Rangitikei Mayor Andy Watson opening the event at 9am.
• Entry is $20 for adults or $50 for families (two adults and kids).