Duncan seventh overall after pair of fifths

Defending world champion Courtney Duncan is seventh in the overall championship standings following a tough weekend on the sand on Sardegna, Italy.

The four-time world champion finished fifth in both races in the second leg of the Women’s Motocross World Championship.

That was an improvement on the opening round in Spain, where she placed ninth overall following a third and a 19th.

The 28-year-old is used to being at the front of the pack and setting the pace.

But she had an injury setback during the offseason and did not have a lot of time on her bike leading into the series.

Dutch rider Lotte van Drunen came out victorious with two race wins in a perfect performance in Sardegna. The queen of sand dominated on the track and showed she will be a force this season.

Van Drunen is the joint leader in the overall classification with 94 points. Spain’s Daniela Guillen, who finished second in both races in Sardegna, shares the series lead, while Netherlands rider Lynn Valk (76 points), Italian Kiara Fontanesi (68 points), and Denmark’s Sara Andersen (63 points) round on the top five. Duncan has 54 points.

The Dunedin rider got off to decent start in race one but her rival Fontanesi beat her to the first corner.

Van Drunen had to make up some ground after she slowed to avoid a pile up. But she quickly made her way back through the pack and passed Guillen in the last lap to take the win.

In race two, Fontanesi led Duncan at the first corner again. But van Drunen, Guillen and Valk all slipped by and finished in that order.

Van Drunen pulled away to win comfortably.

The next round is back in Spain on May 12.