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Tapanui motorcycle racer Seth Devereux this weekend begins his challenge for a third New Zealand title.
Devereux (27) is contesting the 2020 New Zealand 600 Supersport Championship aboard an MV Agusta for Wanaka-based Helicraft Racing.
The five-round, 15-race programme, part of the NZSBK series, begins at Mike Pero Motorsport Park in Christchurch this Saturday and Sunday, then travels south to Levels Raceway, at Timaru, the following weekend.
The remaining championship rounds are in March and April in the North Island.
Devereux, whose previous successes have come in the 125cc and 250cc classes, faces tough opposition.
"It is probably the most competitive class in New Zealand racing.
"There are at least half a dozen of us capable of winning races, including defending champion Avalon Biddle," he said.
"To qualify on the first or second rows of the grid will be a real job.
"It'll be record-setting pace."
Devereux has spent the winter and spring working with Helicraft team owner Rod Price building two bikes for the new season and testing various upgrades, including brakes, suspension and software.
"The MV is quite different to what I have raced in the past.
"It requires a change of riding technique, but the rewards are massive."
It is not just about the bike, Devereux said.
"The Helicraft technical guys are so experienced - right up to world championship level - and I'm grateful to be given such an opportunity.
"Right now, I just can't wait to get back on the track."
A race winner in the class last season, Devereux knows the importance of a good start to his campaign.
"The first two tracks are my 'home' circuits.
"I know them well and it is vital I post six consistent results in the next couple of weeks."
Price is "cautiously confident" about his team's chances.
"In Seth we have a proven championship winner and I believe the MV and the technical support we can provide will give him a good chance of success this season."
The team's MV Agusta's traditional red and silver livery is enhanced this season by the addition of yellow, marking the recently announced involvement of lubricant supplier ENI/TransDiesel.
"We've tweaked and boosted what was already a distinctive colour scheme," Price said.
- Staff reporter