When Steffi Laier, Red Bull Teka KTM factory rider and two-time WMX World Champion, takes to the track in the pre-season MX races in Valence, France, this weekend it will be her first competitive ride for 2011.
Steffi has been training hard on the bike since mid December and in Valence tests herself against a field of male riders.
At the French pre-season special, she faces off with a strong lineup of riders including those from the Nestaan JM Racing KTM squad led by Joel Roelants, Yentel Martens and young talents like 125 European champion Jordi Tixier of France and Austrian Pascal Rauchenecker.
Also in the field are other KTM riders like British rider Nathan Parker (PROPPA-COM KTM and French riders Loïc Leonce (B G R KTM) and Loïc Larrieu (WOLFF KTM). But these and other top riders hold no fear for Steffi who his very well known for her toughness, skill and courage when attacking any MX track.
Steffi Laier says: "The track of Valence is not my favorite one but it is always nice to be able to compete together with the boys."
Clearly Laier has yet another world title in her sights and this race will be just a warm up for future track action in the coming WMX championship, which gets underway in Sevlievo, Bulgaria on April 10.
This year the calendar is made up of nine GPs, mostly running in tandem with the MX3 GPs.
The German racer has also expressed satisfaction with her KTM 250 SX-F machine, saying: "Actually from the first moment on the bike I felt superb. I have been training hard in Belgium during the past weeks and I think things are looking good for me. It's exciting to be heading off to the first race. We still need to do quite a lot of testing but I love to ride my new KTM so I will be doing my best to make everyone proud of me."
Steffi says although there are big changes for the WMX championship this season now that it is aligned with MX3, she will still be out to retain the title and when the competition gets underway, she expects her main rivals will again be Livia Lancelot of France and Germany's Larissa Papenmeier.
She also expects Italian Chiara Fontanesi will be a strong challenger this season.
As well as Valence, Steffi also plans to race in the Dutch Championship and some other international and national races to complete her preparation for her racing season.