At 19 years of age, Spencer Knowles has been around almost as long as the Motocross nationals he hopes to make an impact in.
Knowles will be in the lineup this weekend when the 20th anniversary of the Monster Energy Motocross Nationals kicks off with a start at the Wastelands in Nanaimo, an off-road tradition that dates back to the 1990s.
The Queensborough racer cut his teeth in the MX2 pro series at the 2009 nationals with Yamaha but has been riding for the Kawasaki team for the past two seasons, placing 10th overall in both years in the 250CC class.
Last year, Knowles got off to a fast start in the national series, holding down sixth place after four rounds in the nine-round cross-Canada series.
Earlier this month, Knowles tuned up for the Sunday start, winning two classes in a provincial race held in Kamloops.
But the nationals are a step up in class and a much bigger field.
"It's an all-day event with motocross races lasting 25 minutes plus two (additional) laps," Knowles said. "It's pretty brutal when the heat's blazing."
Each lap is approximately two minutes in length, so racers will complete up to 12 to 15 laps in a single race.
"It's super demanding," he added. "Lots of people figure they have a dirt bike (under them) and it has a motor on it. But being consistent every lap and trying to keep your line - if you lose a second here or a second there - the guy behind out is right behind."
The national series moves on to Kamloops the following weekend for the first-ever Canadian pro national to be held on Saturday.
The Western half of the series will then move to Alberta with race dates in Calgary on June 17 and in Edmonton on June 24.
The next five dates will take place in July and August in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick, with the windup finale at Walton, Ont. on Aug. 19.
Knowles spends three months in the U.S. in preparation for the Canadian ciruit.
"I think it's just going to come down to consistency and just riding smart and not crashing," he said. "I feel I'm ready for it and to be up with the cup runners."
The guy to beat could be Colton Fossiardi, a 24-year-old rider originally from Cloverdale, who now calls Ontario home.
With the average race age between 16 to 28 years, Knowles believes that the best is just ahead for him.
"I would like to be racing the Supercross down there (United States) one day, but it takes financial backing. That's what I'm working on right now," Knowles said.
"I'm just taking it year by year right now. I'd like this to be my future, but you never know. It's a pretty crazy sport. But this is what I've wanted to do. I love it and I've been doing it since I was young. I want to continue to do it as long as I can."