Duncan rides to third world title in a row

Otago's Courtney Duncan has her third gold plate safely tucked away.

Now, the champion rider just needs a golden ticket home.

The 25-year-old collected her third consecutive Women’s Motocross World Championship (WMX) title early yesterday morning (NZ time).

Courtney Duncan holds up her winner’s gold plate at the MXGP of Trentino in Italy yesterday....
Courtney Duncan holds up her winner’s gold plate at the MXGP of Trentino in Italy yesterday. PHOTOS: MXGP

She entered the final leg of the series in Italy with a comfortable lead and rode a calculated opening race to finish third behind German Larissa Papenmeier and Dutch rider Nancy van de Ven.

She used all of her experience to stay clear of the carnage unfolding around her.

Her main rival, six-time champion Kiara Fontanesi, had to ride a more aggressive race and collided with another rider and toppled over.

The Italian got back up but was only able to finish 15th.

That left Duncan with an unassailable lead at the top of the series standings and she celebrated with a win in the final race of the season to claim her third WMX gold plate in style.

Courtney Duncan celebrates winning her third consecutive FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship...
Courtney Duncan celebrates winning her third consecutive FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship with her Bike It MTX Kawasaki team in Italy yesterday.
It was her fifth race win of the season. Papenmeier and van de Ven finished second and third respectively.

Duncan had to overcome a heavy crash in the penultimate round of the series and some stiff competition from Fontanesi during the season, so it was far from easy.

But, ultimately, she won the series by 31 points from van de Ven, Fontanesi slipping back to third.

"This year’s been really tough," Duncan said.

"We’ve had ups and downs. Along the way it hasn’t been a smooth run. I’ve made the best out of every situation and got as much points as possible."

Duncan was understandably emotional in her post-race interview.

"Three times in a row with the same team, the same brand, it’s amazing. Words don’t describe it.

"I got to share the victory with my team and Kawasaki and a couple of friends I have over here."

Duncan surpassed fellow New Zealand world champion Katherine Oberlin-Brown (nee Prumm) as the country’s most successful female motocross rider.

Prumm won the Women’s Motocross World Cup, the forerunner to the WMX, in 2006 and 2007.

The only competition Duncan has not been able to ace this season is the race to secure a spot in managed isolation and quarantine to come home.

"Hopefully, I can get one in the coming weeks.

"That would be ideal to be back with my friends and family for Christmas.

"Obviously, I have a lot of support back home that it’s not possible to race without, so it would be cool to get back and celebrate with those guys as well."

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