EXPECT a commotion in Cooranbong on Saturday when some of Australia's leading mountain bike riders tackle Awaba Mountain Bike Park.
That's the venue for the third day of action in the Port to Port mountain bike event.
And if Saturday is moving day, then the Cooranbong stage in the Watagan Mountains could set the leading riders on the path to victory on the fourth and final day of racing in Newcastle.
The event starts today (Thursday) with a 48km ride at Pokolbin.
Stage 2 is a 46km ride in the shadow of Mount Sugarloaf, at Killingworth, tomorrow.
Cooranbong will host a 58km section on Saturday. Riders will start at Cooranbong Park from 8am.
And riders will race to the finish line in a 40km stage through Glenrock Mountain Bike Park, in Newcastle, on Sunday.
Event spokesperson Noel McMahon said the introduction of teams racing in all Epic Series Oceania events had guaranteed closer and more dramatic racing.
"Mountain biking is a close-knit community but the iconic Port to Port has become even more of a family affair with siblings like the Harris, Nankervis and now Ward siblings teaming up to tackle the four-day MTB stage race in Newcastle and the stunning Hunter region," McMahon said.
Wollongong-based brothers Kyle (27) and Jayden Ward (22) are a highly credentialled family team who are determined to use their outstanding riding ability and close personal knowledge to good use.
Kyle Ward said he was looking forward to the teams format of the event.
"I raced at Reef to Reef with [his partner] Samara [Sheppard] and that was the first time moving to the team format and we really enjoyed that. Now the plan is to give Port to Port a nudge with Jayden," he said.
"Although it wasn't a team race specifically at Cape to Cape last year, there were a lot of tactics within friendships.
"Having someone like Jayden was beneficial to my goal in the General Classification. He also knew that I could be handy leading him out to win a stage.
"We played a few tactics like that and we worked quite well together. So, at Port to Port, I have asked Jayden to team up.
"Going into Port to Port this year it is really cool because we already have the fundamental aspects of a successful team, knowing a little bit about each other's strengths and weaknesses."
Ward said that in teams racing there were three important criteria to meet to have any chance of success.
"First it is important to ride with someone you are willing to ride with for four days, secondly someone you are allowed to ride with in terms of sponsors but then finally you need to find someone who can help contest for victory," he said.