Duncan feels she is riding like she used to

Courtney Duncan
Courtney Duncan
Courtney Duncan is back riding the way she loves to ride - flat out.

Nothing makes her happier.

Fed up with being labelled the unluckiest rider on the Women's Motocross World Championship circuit, Duncan took chance out of the equation in Portugal earlier this month.

The 23-year-old Dunedin-based rider produced two dominant displays.

She won the first race by almost 13sec and race two by 30sec.

"It was a really good weekend for me,'' Duncan said.

"I qualified on pole and then won the the first moto. And my performance in the second moto I was really happy with.

"It was like the biggest win I've had since I've been racing GPs [grand prix].

"I'm looking forward to continue building on from that.''

To put her effort in the second race into perspective, she was basically a quarter of the track ahead of nearest rival Dutch rider Nancy van de Ven.

Portugal has certainly been kind to Duncan. She has won all four of her races at the venue.

And the recent back-to-back victories have put Duncan into the overall lead in 2019 championship standings.

But it is not the first time she has been leading the title race or firmly in contention.

Duncan's push for glory in her rookie season ended after she collided with a stray photographer. The following year her campaign was derailed when she crashed into a fence after swerving to avoid a pile-up in the penultimate race of the season. And last year she was forced out through injury when she had a big lead in the standings.

The string of disappointments took a toll on the usually upbeat rider. But she has hit the refresh button this season.

Duncan has changed teams and has a new bike. The Kawasaki is better suited to her riding style and the results are there for everyone to see.

She is faster than ever.

And while she would like to race every weekend, the long breaks between events are working out well.

She has been returning to Dunedin between race meets and putting in solid training blocks.

"I was able to put in a good amount of work [after the opening series] and that really helped with the confidence [in Portugal].

"But I was feeling good with where I'm at. I feel like I'm riding like I used to ride.

"I haven't ridden like this, even in training, for a very long time. So it is good to be back in a position where I'm comfortable and riding like my old self.

"I was sick of being that rider who has potential to do it but hasn't done it. I think that probably drives me, as well.

"I just want to finish off and I know I'm capable of doing that. I've never doubted myself or my ability.

"It is just the mentality has changed this year. I'm in a more comfortable environment and I'm really enjoying the fresh start.''

The next event is in the Czech Republic in late July.

Duncan will join her team in the United Kingdom about mid-July. Until then she will prepare in New Zealand around family and friends. It is proving to be a winning combination.


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