The iconic event, set this year for the weekend of January 30-31, will welcome women’s motocross world champion Courtney Duncan to the race action, the Otago woman at home to visit family and friends and dig into her build-up for a return to Europe in the coming weeks.
The South Islander will obviously be attempting to make it three world titles in succession in 2021 and, while again she’s one of the clear favourites, Duncan is also conscious she will once more have a target on her back.
Duncan has not always been available to race at Woodville, with her international commitments holding priority for her in recent years, but, fresh out of her COVID-19 quarantine, Duncan is thrilled to be a draw-card rider at this year’s event.
She is sure to delight her many Kiwi fans with this rare appearance in New Zealand, coming just a few days after she’s celebrates her 25th birthday.
Duncan will race the women’s class only at Woodville this time around, just to reduce any risk of injury before her 2021 campaign in Europe, but many will remember that she dealt severely to the men anyway when she raced at Woodville in 2016 and stunned the male stars of the MX2 (250cc) class, topping the podium that weekend ahead of national champions and fellow Kiwi internationals Josiah Natzke (Hamilton) and Hamish Harwood (West Auckland).
It’s interesting to note that Harwood was the winner of the main trophy in the premier MX1 class at Woodville last season.
The host Manawatu Orion Motorcycle Club president Brad Ritchie said he was thrilled to welcome Duncan to the event.
“It is so exciting, for our 60th anniversary event, to have Courtney Duncan come and race here,” he said.
“To have a two-time world champion at the event will be spectacular.
“We have been delving in to the history of the event and recognising people who have played a part over the years. For them to be able to watch Courtney Duncan from the spectator embankment will be pretty special I’m sure.”
The Honda-sponsored Woodville event will have double the significance this year, also recognised this time around as the opening round of four in the 2021 New Zealand Motocross Championships.
It’s the first time that the New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville, the largest stand-alone event on the New Zealand motorcycle racing calendar, has been afforded this honour and certainly appropriate when considering that this event already enjoys the status as the premier motocross event in this part of the world.
Ritchie said the 2021 Honda New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville will be live-streamed on the Sky Sport Next programme, which will also be a first for the event, allowing bike fans from across the country and around the world to watch the event live on television, laptops, cell phones or tablets.
Pre sale tickets are available via the events website at www.woodvillemx.com. On the day gate sales available – cash or eftpos.
© Main photo by Derek Morrison, Fuel My Potential
© Words by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ
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