West Wollongong teenager Bradley Heffernan will be mixing it with the big boys this weekend when he races in the elite men's division of the NSW Grand Prix Series at Cronulla and Wollongong.
Heffernan, 16, will be riding as part of the NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) team, which is coached by Mick Kedja, also from Wollongong.
The NSWIS team will contain a number of Australian junior champions including Moss Vale's Caleb Ewan, 18, who many experts are calling the next big thing in cycling.
He and Heffernan are graduates from the Illawarra Academy of Sport.
Heffernan believes his best chance of success this weekend is the tighter Wollongong circuit, which will suit his aggressive style of racing and the opportunity to use his kick out of the tight bottom corner on the Marine Drive circuit.
He takes good form into the series, having won silver in the under-19 men's Oceania omnium title in Adelaide last weekend, missing the win by just one point.
In what is considered the ironman of track cycling, he produced three personal bests in the three timed events and went into the last event trailing the leader by three points.
The final event was the 1 kilometre time trial and Heffernan was the fastest in the field.
However, the leader finished third, which denied Heffernan the win by the smallest of margins.
Now he will be competing against international and national riders in elite men's criterium racing this weekend at Cronulla and in his home city of Wollongong, where he should have plenty of support.
The Cronulla event is on Saturday, followed by the Wollongong race on the Flagstaff Hill criterium circuit on Sunday.
Bradley's sister Chloe helped in making it a big week in the Heffernan household, by winning the under-15 girls' Clarence Street Cup at the Dunc Gray Velodrome.
NSW GRAND PRIX SERIES
Sunday at Flagstaff Hill
9am: Preliminary and junior racing
11.30am: Masters series
12.40pm: Women’s race
1.30pm: Men’s race