Otago teen taking motocross talents to US

Courtney Duncan: 'I'll leave nothing on the table in my bid to win in America.' Photo Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ
Courtney Duncan: 'I'll leave nothing on the table in my bid to win in America.' Photo Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ
Otago's Courtney Duncan may be getting a bit too big for her boots . . . but in a good way.

The just-turned 17-year-old Yamaha ace from Palmerston was in scintillating form as she made her senior motocross championships debut at round one of the 2013 series near Timaru on Sunday.

She took her GMD Backflips Yamaha YZ125 bike to 1-2-3 results in her three 125cc class outings, enough to win the day overall from fellow Yamaha young guns Cameron Vaughan, of Rotorua, and Logan Blackburn, of Te Puke.

But, as the steam was still rising from her body at the end of the sweltering day's racing, she announced that this was the only round of the series that she would contest.

Perhaps it is true that she has out-grown competition in this part of the world?

"I am flying off to the United States, where I will be based at the Millsaps Training Facility in Georgia and will be racing several big events over there," she said.

This means that Vaughan (JCR Yamaha Racing YZ125) and Blackburn (Bayride BikesportNZ.com Yamaha YZ125) will therefore have extra incentive to push at the next round of the New Zealand Motocross Championships - at Patetonga in just over a week's time - when the championship lead will be there for the taking.

The two teenage boys will certainly be keen to taste fresh air out front after gasping in Duncan's dust throughout most of last Sunday.

Duncan qualified fastest at Timaru by nearly four seconds and then led the first race from start to finish.

Crashes in the next two races meant twice she had to fight her way through to the field, showing just the sort of dogged determination she will need against the elite in America.

"I'm not sure when I'll be flying back home but you can guarantee I'll leave nothing on the table in my bid to win in America," she said.

Meanwhile, Vaughan was perhaps a little unlucky to not win the day instead of Duncan in Timaru on Sunday.

He won two of the three races but an unfortunate incident near the start of his first race cost him valuable points.

Vaughan crashed while running with the leaders, after "casing a jump and then bouncing into a rut" that threw him off the bike.

"I got going again but was last away and had to fight through a lot of traffic to get back to finish the race in seventh spot.

"But I'm feeling strong and I'm looking forward to the next rounds of the series."

After Patetonga on February 24, the national series continues at Pukekohe (on March 10) and it finally wraps up at Taupo on March 31.