BENDIGO mountain bike siblings Tasman and Russ Nankervis say they have been doing the 'team thing' all their lives.
So it's only natural the brothers will be partners in this month's four-day Port to Port stage race, as part of the Epic Series Oceania.
The May 23-26 race will be contested on mountain bike trails in the Hunter and Newcastle regions of New South Wales, with teams racing included in the event for the first time.
The Nankervis brothers will be among the favourites when the epic event gets underway at Audrey Wilkinson Winery in the Hunter Valley next Thursday.
For at least one of the siblings, it will be a chance for redemption.
After a 2018 that saw Tasman injured more than racing, he is determined to keep the bike upright and himself well away from doctors.
"Last year was a mixed year because I had a lot of injuries and I had a few good races as well," he said.
"I broke three bones last year, my thumb, two metacarpals in a hand and broke my shoulder in three separate crashes and there was a lot of rehab last year.
"So, I am looking for a healthier 2019 and I will try and keep on my bike a bit more."
"I am riding with my brother Russ in the teams at Port to Port and I think it should be pretty good.
"The key to teams is having an understanding and knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are.
"Russ and I could probably race together and not even talk but we would still know how each other is feeling just from body language and stuff like that.
"Our familiarity will definitely be a strength to try and get the best out of each other."
Big brother Tas is delighted that the younger Nankervis is in the form of his life at the moment.
"I have never seen him going this good before and we have raced each other so many times," he said.
"We paired up for the first time last year, winning the Hellfire Cup in Tasmania, so that was the first time racing together, rather than against each other."
"At the National's Russ finished 10th behind me and at Oceania's he was eighth behind me and at the Golden Triangle Bendigo Epic which is our biggest local race and he just beat me in that.
"He is going really good, too good because he is beating me."
Russ and I could probably race together and not even talk but we would still know how each other is feeling just from body language and stuff like that.Tasman Nankervis
This will be Tas' fourth Port to Port and he is keen to use his knowledge to go one better than the tight second place to Brendan Johnston last year.
Port to Port is the first race in the Epic Series Oceania, that also includes Reef to Reef in Far North Queensland. Cape to Cape in the Margaret River region of Western Australia and The Pioneer, the iconic six day MTB stage race through New Zealand's Southern Alps.
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