Motocross

Courtney Duncan Has Eyes On World Championship Number Three

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Courtney Duncan is confident and excited to get the 2021 season underway.

Reigning World Champion Courtney Duncan has her sights firmly on the hat-trick as the 2021 FIM World WMX Women’s Motocross Championship starts this weekend at Loket in the Czech Republic.

The twenty-five year from Dunedin on the South Island of New Zealand has an astounding record since joining Steve Dixon’s Bike It MTX team with the support of Kawasaki Motors Europe in 2019. Now entering their third season together the partnership has already garnered two individual world titles, a manufacturer’s world title against numerically superior opposition, fourteen moto wins out of twenty, and seven GP victories from ten.

This year’s WMX world series will take in rounds on a variety of different track surfaces in the Czech Republic, Belgium, Turkey, Spain, and Italy over the next three months and Courtney goes to the start full of confidence this weekend; last time the series visited Loket in 2019 she raced to a perfect 1-1 scoreline at the serpentine track in the north-western corner of the country. We spoke to her on the eve of her world title defense.

“I’m feeling good and I’m excited to be back at the races under the DRT tent,” Duncan said. “It seems a long time since I was last here. But the off-season was good; I got to have some time with friends and family and got some good preparation. The tracks were really good back home in New Zealand. I’ve been back in Belgium for a couple of weeks and have been able to go out practicing with my mechanic George.

With the world and travel heavily restricted due to the Covid19 pandemic, Duncan hasn’t had an easy time. “It was tough because of the restrictions at the borders; we had to stay two weeks in a hotel when I was back in New Zealand. Covid doesn’t make intercontinental travel easy,” Duncan admitted. “There’s no Covid, no community cases, back home; we’ve been living a normal life for well over a year now,” she added.

Courtney Duncan and Team Manager Steve Dixon have garnered two individual world titles, a manufacturer’s world title and clocked up fourteen moto wins out of twenty and seven since joining forces since 2019

For the second year in succession, Courtney was elected Sportswoman of the Year in New Zealand which helps keep her compatriots aware of her success. “There’s no direct TV coverage of the actual races but both national TV and the newspapers have been excellent in reporting my successes and the support at home has been great; the recognition is cool, both locally and at the national level,” Duncan said of her award.

As far as defending her title and the goal of making it three in a row she remains as focused as ever with the main goal still being just performing the best she can.

“It plays on your mind a little bit, and obviously we want to go for the three. But I just want to come and give it the best I’ve got, just the same as though I was going for my first title or my tenth. I still have the same mentality; I want to bring my A-game, to do my best, and to leave it all on the track,” Duncan said.

With the championship in 2021 being changed to a one-day format and the rounds reduced to five it will be a slightly different season but Duncan is not phased by the changes.

“Back home in New Zealand we race the one-day format with three or four races on one day so it suits me fine; the more often I can get on the track in one day the more I enjoy it,” she explained. “It is what it is, but that means consistency is really important and I think it’s exciting for the fans because it stays close in points. And we have a good selection of circuits; hardpack this week, sand next week. But that’s exciting. Both are completely different and you need to be able to ride on all types of track and in all conditions to win the championship.

Despite the lack of European racing Duncan is ready to go.

“I did a couple of races back home too before I flew over, but those national races are not the same for anyone; nothing compares to racing a GP, to compete for a World Championship. There’s more pressure, more expectation; it’s simply a bigger platform on the world stage and I live for moments like this,” Duncan conlcuded.

Duncan will be looking to retain her championship leader red plate when the 2021 season gets underway this weekend.

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