With just fours weeks remaining until the eagerly anticipated ninth Hawkstone Park International Moto-x, preparations have been rolling ahead for the star-studded spectacle on Sunday 4 March.
While the historic circuit undergoes refinements for the biggest annual race meeting to visit the Shropshire venue, some of the top ranked protagonists that grace the virtual 'Grand Prix' entry list are also putting the finishing touches to their 'packages' for the 2007 MX1 World Championship, set to commence only four weeks after the Hawkstone clash.
Two of the main names touted as favourites for the throne which has been vacated by ten times world champion Stefan Everts, who has retired, are his replacement on the works Yamaha, Josh Coppins, and current Belgian number one, Steve Ramon, who will guide a factory Suzuki for a second season.
"Of course, I look forward to Hawkstone and have been racing there for a few years now," said Ramon. "The first time I raced on the sand I really enjoyed it and have been back since. Hopefully, the weather will stay good. The entry list is strong with many GP riders and, because of this, the Hawkstone International is always good to measure your speed and to start to build yourself up to the first grand prix."
"The track is pretty cool and it is always good to be racing at a place that has so much history," offered former multi-British champion Coppins. "It can be hard going in that heavy sand, particularly if it is wet. Hawkstone is always a tough international to start the year."
Coppins, who turns 30 a little more than a week after Hawkstone, has been working and testing in Italy with his Rinaldi team for a debut term on the blue machinery.
"Things have been going really well and I can't complain," he commented. "I am as fit and prepared as I was last year up until the accident that dislocated my shoulder a week before the first GP. I am happy with the Yamaha and the team is awesome so the signs are good."
Ramon, who is 27, grabbed a moto podium in Shropshire twelve months ago despite struggling with a strained back muscle.
"Everything has been going well for me," he noted, "I went to Portugal to find some sun in December and do some physical training. I began working with the bike again in January and next week we will head to France for more testing."
Coppins and Ramon will line up against a whole host of other World class riders in the MX1 class, and with an equally exciting array of international talent in the MX2 category, the action to decide who will be the new King of Hawkstone is sure to be fast and furious at the very least.