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Courtney Duncan has a healthy lead at the top of the Women’s Motocross World Championship and seems destined to claim the title which has eluded her for the past two years.
The 22-year-old Palmerston rider was robbed of a shot at the title in her rookie season after she collided with a stray photographer.
Last season her campaign was derailed when she crashed into a fence after swerving to avoid a pile-up in the second last race of the season.
But this year Duncan has been in irrepressible form, winning five races in a row and collecting two second placings in the last round in Italy.
She has a 21-point lead at the top of the standings with four races remaining in the season.
This time — surely?
"Ha ha. Yeah, it has been a good start to the season for sure," Duncan said.
"If you had’ve said you’re going to be 20 points in the lead after round 4 I would have definitely been happy with that.
"But there are two more rounds to go and anything can happen. But we are in a good position and just need to continue doing what we are doing."
Duncan could perhaps drift to the title with some solid rather than spectacular results. But it has been a full-throttle, daring approach which has seen her rise to the top and that is how she plans to stay there.
"I have four races left and I could go out and get third in each of those races and still win.
"But I don’t look at it that way. I’ve kind of done that once or twice in the past and honestly it doesn’t work for me.
"I don’t feel I need to do that either. I feel confident enough in my ability to go for the win in each race and ride within my limits.
"It is the same mentality I had in round 1, 2, 3 and 4. I’m going to go out there and go for the win."
Five-time world champion Kiara Fontanesi and Dutch rider Nancy van de Ven are tied for second in the overall standings with 163 points. German Larissa Papenmeier is within striking distance on 161 points. But Duncan (184 points) is hoping this is her year.
"I feel like it is my year every year; I’ve just made silly mistakes in the past.
"But I feel like I’ve gained experience from those failures and I’ve been able to put a bit of that to use this season."
Duncan is on crutches at the moment. She had a crash in France on the weekend and has a couple of fractures in her right foot.
But she had a holiday scheduled in anyway and is back home in Palmerston for a few weeks, so it will not impact her preparation for the fifth round in the Netherlands in September.
"I will only be on crutches for 10 days, then I’m good to go.
"But I was looking forward to doing some mountain biking and to get out on the golf field. But it is still nice to be back and see family and friends."
Duncan will head back to her base in Belgium later this month.