Duncan feels she has made big strides with new team despite injury layoff

Courtney Duncan
Courtney Duncan
Courtney Duncan is embracing change this year.

The four-time women’s motocross world champion has switched teams, and she spent most of the offseason in Cambridge recovering from an injury.

But the important things never change.

Otago is still home. The Highlanders are her "guys". And she is still as determined as ever to get to the finish line first when the series gets under way in Spain this weekend.

The 28-year-old is in her ninth season on the circuit and chasing a fifth title.

Last season, she produced some of her best form to snatch the title and overtake Italian rider Kiara Fontanesi for the most wins in the history of the series.

But you start from scratch again each season, and Duncan may need some time to adjust to the changes and get back up to top speed.

"Like always, there is a lot of anticipation for the opening round of the season," she told the Otago Daily Times in an audio message.

"There have been a lot of changes for me this year. I’ve got a new team [F&H Racing] and that has been exciting. But I haven’t had as long on the bike as I would like.

"I had an injury throughout the offseason so I actually had three months off the bike, so that delayed my preseason testing with the team over here.

"But I feel like so far we’ve made some big strides in the first few weeks together, so we’ll see.

"I feel really good with the team. The team is really professional and has a lot of experience and knowledge and I feel like it is definitely going to be beneficial for me this season to have that kind of support."

The injury layoff was not the ideal preparation for the season but she feels strong and fit despite the break. However, she said there were seven rounds and it would not be disastrous if she got off to a slow start in the series.

"But obviously if you can get on the right foot then you want to."

Duncan relocated to Cambridge during the offseason to make it easier to rehabilitate.

But the temporary move to the Waikato did not bring about any change of allegiance.

"Am I still a Highlanders fan? They are my guys — they are my team.

"I’ve been a fan of them since day one and that will never change.

"Same with home. Home will always be Dunedin."