She’s taking on the world this weekend — and Courtney Duncan warmed up for the task with an astounding 11 wins from 11 starts at the Southland Motocross Championships.
The Otago rider annihilated mostly male competition at the two-day event. Her Altherm JCR Yamaha YZ250F logged five wins from five starts against the 450cc riders in the MX1 class and all five MX2 (250cc) races, then destroyed the competition in the all-in feature race at Invercargill’s Sandy Point track.
But the 20-year-old from Palmerston has much bigger fish to fry this season.
Her dominance was a great confidence boost as she heads away for round two of the Women’s Motocross World Championships on the deep sand track of Valkenswaard, in the Netherlands, on Sunday.
Duncan dominated round one of the world series in Qatar last month, winning both her races and humbling her rivals, including world champion Kiara Fontanesi (Italy).
The mostly-unheralded Duncan battled nerves as she qualified fourth fastest in Qatar, but then she wreaked havoc on race night.
Sharing the programme with the premier men’s MXGP and MX2 categories and raced under lights, Duncan won both her races ahead of former world champion Livia Lancelot (France, Kawasaki).
Duncan won the first race by more than 27sec and the second by more than 28sec.
Nancy Van Der Ven (Netherlands, Yamaha) finished third overall with a 3-4 score-card. Fontanesi managed 11-3 results for fifth.
Duncan’s racing team boss, former Grand Prix star and former world No2 Josh Coppins, believes “the best is yet to come” from Duncan and the racing in Southland was an ideal hit-out.
“It just worked out perfectly for her to race the Southland champs, with the sandy track very similar to what is coming up for her in Holland. So it was a good training foundation for the next event and there is no better training than lining up in proper races as well.”
Duncan was satisfied with her workout. “I don’t really know who I was racing against because I was just concentrating on racing my pit-board to see if I could keep consistent lap times,” she said.
“I guess you could say I was just racing myself.”
Her pace on Saturday was nearly 4sec a lap quicker than any other rider and on Sunday she upped the ante to 6sec quicker than the next best racer.
Duncan won the feature race more than half a lap ahead of the runner-up.
“Lining up for 11 races was a great workout and great preparation for me for Valkenswaard. I know what to expect from the other riders after facing them at Qatar, but the deep sand in Holland will be something new for me. But I think I’m the best prepared that I can be.
“I grew up racing here (in Southland), so it is always good to come back. The track got nice and rough, so it made sense to come down here to train for what I’ll face in Holland.”