Motorsport: End of an era for Courtney Duncan

Courtney Duncan (Yamaha), still giving the boys a few headaches. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com
Courtney Duncan (Yamaha), still giving the boys a few headaches. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com

It was the end of an era for Otago's Courtney Duncan when she raced at the big annual Whakatane Summercross at the weekend.

The Yamaha ace from Palmerston, near Dunedin, had travelled a long way to race against and beat the boys, something she has been doing for many years now, but this time was special because it was her final event as a junior racer.

So it was a perfect day for her on Saturday when she signed off on her time as a junior by winning the 16-17 years' 125cc class, scoring a hat-trick of wins to beat current national junior 125cc champion Hadleigh Knight, of Atiamuri, in the process.

The 16-year-old Duncan also won the women's grade on Saturday, scoring another hat-trick of wins and this time finishing ahead of Kiwi international Emma Davis, of Taupo, and Rangiora's national No.1 Kimberley Murphy.

So, with six wins from six starts on Saturday, Duncan had plenty of reason to rejoice late that afternoon, although it was also a celebration muted with just a tinge of sadness.

"It's the end of an era I guess," she shrugged. "I never thought about it until now, but that's the end of the junior phase of my career, the only thing I've really known.

"It will just gets tougher from here. I'll just have to work really hard and see where it takes me.

"Everything went smoothly for me today. I grabbed five out of six holeshots and that obviously helps. It's a long way to travel to come second. I didn't come all this way to finish second."

It has been a very successful season for Duncan - she also won all five rounds of the Southern Motocross Series, comfortably winning the combined junior 125cc and 250cc class.

"There are lots of very fast riders down south, but many of them choose not to travel north. This is an expensive sport, so I can understand that.

"It was a very long trip for me to come here. We set off at 2.30pm on Thursday and arrived at Whakatane at 7am yesterday (Friday). It was a non-stop trip and the only rest we had was on the Cook Strait ferry."

Speaking of travel, Duncan said she would contest the upcoming senior nationals, in the under-21 class. I could possibly race the MX2 class at the senior nationals instead, as long as I'm still in the country.

''There are also things that could be happening for me in the United States in 2013. We'll just have to wait and see."

- Andy McGechan