Courtney Duncan leads Women's Motocross World Championship standings
Otago's Courtney Duncan is back on top of the Women's Motocross World Championship standings after another sensational display of riding skill, courage and common sense, at Loket, in the Czech Republic.
The Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing Team rider from Palmerston, near Dunedin, arrived at the weekend's fourth round of six in this season's FIM Women's Motocross World Championships in third position overall, but just seven points behind the series leader, Italy's former world champion Kiara Fontanesi (Yamaha).
Duncan battled valiantly in her first of two races at the tricky Loket track, fighting through traffic from eighth position at the start to eventually take the lead just two corners before the finish and win the race by barely a bike length from rival Fontanesi.
Following the top two was Dutch rider Nancy Van De Ven (Yamaha), ahead of French defending world champion Livia Lancelot (Kawasaki). Germany's Larissa Papenmeier (Suzuki) rounded out the top five.
"I got a terrible start actually and got pushed wide on the first corner and had to come from really far back," Duncan said.
"In my sighting lap I knew that it was really slippery, so I knew I just had to be patient on the first opening laps so I didn't risk any passes on the other riders. I found my way to fourth and then just took it from there."
In the second race on Sunday, Duncan was close behind the race leader from Belgium, Amandine Verstappen (KTM), for the first half of the race before losing traction in a corner and going down. While she didn't lose her position, Duncan dropped a long way back.
While Duncan eventually had to settle for runner-up spot, she did snatch a vital points advantage over her two main rivals for the crown, Fontanesi and Lancelot, overtaking them both and securing the No 1 position on the points table.
From third place and seven points off the lead at the start of the weekend, Duncan is now on top and three points clear of Fontanesi, with Lancelot now third, four points further back.
Duncan now looks ahead to the fifth and penultimate round of the championships, the Dutch GP at Assen, in the Netherlands, on September 10.