New Zealand’s own Courtney Duncan continues to send shock waves through the United States motocross scene after another brilliant day at the annual Ponca City Motocross Nationals in Oklahoma.
Duncan (Backflips Yamaha YZ85) has wrapped up the 65-85cc girls’ title with back-to-back wins, although it was a phase of the vast five-day competition that was tinged with sadness.
One of the racers up against Duncan in the girls’ class action died in a tragic accident.
The victim, Izzy (Isabell) Koob, a 14-year-old girl from Sioux City, Iowa, was caught up in a first-turn crash.
Duncan, who had snatched the lead virtually from the start and went on to win the race, making in two in a row and an outright class win for the event, was not involved.
On both occasions, Duncan finished ahead of fellow Yamaha rider Kaitlyn Morrow, of Houston in Texas.
The competition – which kicked off on Wednesday (NZ time) and wraps up tomorrow (Sunday, NZ time) – has seen Duncan enhance her already glittering CV with a string of results that have made her “the most talked-about kid in the USA right now”, according to her proud step-dad, Noddy Turner.
“The dust here is terrible … even worse than it was at the Woodville motocross (in New Zealand in January),” said Turner.
“I’m amazed that the accident involving the girl that was killed did not have a huge impact on Courtney. She didn’t see it because she was already out of the first turn but she knew something had happened. That’s got to play with your head a bit. It certainly wouldn’t do a kid much good mentally.”
“But the organisers kept on racing and even the next race started pretty much straight away afterwards. I thought they might stop everything.
“Courtney has been amazing all week.
“The temperature and humidity here is incredible. You are sweating just sitting down.”
In addition to her girls’ class win, Duncan also finished third overall when racing against the boys in the 85-150cc stock class – her 3-2 race results earning her the podium spot – and she also finished the event ranked fourth overall in the 85-150cc modified class after finishing 3-5 in her two outings.
“She could have been on the podium there too but she crashed while running in third in the second moto and had to settle for fifth in that race,” said Turner.
“But I don’t care where she finishes really, so long as she doesn’t get hurt.”
Duncan races again in the 85-150cc Open class tomorrow, hoping to back up her runner-up finish in moto one yesterday with another solid result.
Another top-five result could see Duncan earn another podium result.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com