The 20-year-old from Palmerston, in Otago, won the day at the penultimate round of the Women’s Motocross World Championships (WMX) in Switzerland at the weekend, again demonstrating that she is truly No.1 in the sport.
While it seems that winning the world championship title is perhaps just a matter of time for the Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing Team rider, that time will have to wait until at least next year, thanks to a photographer’s thoughtlessness that led to disaster earlier this season.
Duncan was comfortably leading the championships by the time the series had reached round three in Germany back in May and she was leading the first WMX race of the weekend in Germany when the Kiwi hero clipped an errant photographer, a woman who was standing out on the track over a blind jump.
Duncan hit the ground hard and injured her wrist and was forced to skip the following two GP events as she returned to New Zealand for surgery, clearing the way for French former world champion Livia Lancelot to power her way to the top of the standings.
But Duncan was back at the weekend, her much-anticipated return certainly welcomed by the Kiwi fans at the Frauenfeld-Gachnag circuit in Switzerland.
Duncan won the first race by more than 15 seconds over Italy’s defending world champion Kiara Fontanesi – with Lancelot finishing fourth – and Duncan finished runner-up to Lancelot by less than four seconds in race two
“It was tough, the battles were sick this weekend. Honestly I’m not satisfied, but it’s a win and I’ll take it for my first race back,” Duncan said.
The injury-enforced mid-season lay-off has seen Duncan drop from first to be now sixth in the standings.
“I’m not worried about where I finish up in the championship now. That’s been ruined for me. It’s all about setting myself up for next season now,” she said.
With this event in Switzerland being sixth round of seven in the women’s series, Duncan’s 2016 championship hopes had long since evaporated, although, it’s interesting to note that Duncan has still recorded the same number of race wins as Lancelot this season – four – even with Duncan missing two of the six rounds thus far.
The seventh and final round of the championships is set for the infield at the Assen road-race circuit, in The Netherlands, in three weeks’ time, on August 27-28.
Duncan and her Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing team is supported by Altherm Window Systems, Yamaha, JCR, CRC, Ados, GYTR, Yamalube, Fox Racing, Hollands Collision Centre, Star Moving, Ward Demolition, Fulton Hogan, Pirelli, FMF, DID, NGK, Matrix, Renthal, Motomuck, Workshop Graphics, Motoseat, Hammerhead, SKF, Vertex Pistons, Rtech Plastics, Etnies, Biketranz and Fulton Hogan.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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