Duncan moves closer to third world crown

Dunedin’s Courtney Duncan in action during the latest round of the Women’s Motocross World...
Dunedin’s Courtney Duncan in action during the latest round of the Women’s Motocross World Championship at the intu-Xanadu track in Arroyomolinos, Spain, yesterday.
Dunedin's Courtney Duncan has extended her series lead in the Women’s Motocross World Championship with two strong performances in the penultimate round at the weekend.

Riding for the first time on the intu-Xanadu track in Arroyomolinos, Spain, Duncan not only retained her red plate, but also won the round and extended her
lead to 16 points over her main rival, Italy’s Kiara Fontanesi.

By no means did Duncan have it all go her way. She fought hard for her runner-up position in race one and victory in the second outing.

In the first race, Dutchwoman Shana Van der Vlist took the holeshot ahead of Fontanesi and Dutch rider Nancy Van De Ven, who quickly jumped into the lead.

Defending champion Duncan was running about fifth but moved quickly up to third after passes on Van der Vlist and home-country rider Gabriela Seisdedos.

She then set the fastest lap of the race as she began to hunt down leader Fontanesi.

Before WMX fans knew it, there was a repeat of the previous round in Turkey.

The two multi-time world champions embarked on an intense battle for the lead, and it got physical.

They banged bars going around a corner, which resulted in Fontanesi going down.

The drama did not stop there and just as it looked as if Duncan was going to take a race victory, she hit a rut while pulling her goggles’ tear-off and crashed.

It allowed Van De Ven to take the lead and go on to win the race.

Fontanesi caught on to the back of Duncan in the final laps, but, unable to make
a pass stick, she finished third.

Germany’s Larissa Papenmeier got the holeshot in race two, ahead of Van De Ven and Duncan. The Otago rider then moved swiftly into second and set her sights on Papenmeier for the lead.

After getting to the front, Duncan then clocked the fastest lap of the race as she extended her lead.

The 25-year-old went on to win the race by 19 seconds and extend her series lead ahead of the final round at Italy’s Pietramurata track in a week’s time.

"The goal coming in was to extend my lead in the championship, so it was nice to do that today," Duncan said.

"The first moto didn’t quite go to plan with the big crash while leading.

"I’m a little bit disappointed — it was a simple mistake on my behalf.

"Moto 2 was a different story, and I was able to get off to a good start and make some passes on the first lap."

Duncan leads the series with 223 points from Fontanesi (207 points) and Van De Ven (195 points).

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