The Big Van World MTX Kawasaki team rider from Otago slipped off awkwardly on the second lap of the first practice session at round two in Portugal in April and immediately felt discomfort in her right shoulder.
This could not prevent the tough New Zealander continuing to circulate, posting lap times just two seconds shy of the pace-setters, but X-rays revealed a fractured collarbone and the track doctor declined permission for her to continue.
She has now decided, she will sit out the third round on the island of Sardinia, Italy, this weekend to allow her injured collarbone more time to heal properly.
The women’s racing shares the weekend’s programme in Sardinia with round eight of the men’s MXGP and MX2 world championships.
It is a tough decision for the Kiwi to make, knowing she will certainly now not be able to execute a fourth WMX title in a row.
She plans to return to the world stage in two weeks’ time at the MXGP of Spain.
“As a racer it can always be a difficult decision knowing when’s the right time to come back, as obviously you don’t want to return too early and step yourself further back,” she said.
“Sitting out the Sardinia GP wasn’t (a decision that was) taken lightly but I know it’s the right thing to do, as the recovery would have been rushed and I wouldn’t have been ready. At elite level you need to be at 100 percent to commit to the task and we aren’t there yet,” said Duncan.
Since her crash in April, Duncan has had the break in her collarbone plated by a surgeon and she spent time in Southern France with a friend.
“I stayed with a mate for a couple of weeks and it was good to hang out with a friend and take my mind off everything that had happened,” she says.
Duncan hasn’t let her fitness slip and says she was still in the gym twice daily.
She definitely felt the distance from home as she processed how her season will now look, she says. The incredibly unforgiving nature of her chosen sport means the highs are mountaintops, but the lows are ground down in the mud.
“Every contact you have with extreme sport does come with a risk of getting injured. The rewards are huge but the consequences are huge too. It’s something we are aware of when we step onto the turf. That’s the beauty of elite sport.”
While Duncan’s aim was to claim a four-peat title victory, she has accepted that her injury has meant that the goal posts have shifted.
“We can’t change it, so we’ve switched our focus to making a strong comeback to racing for the last two rounds,” Duncan said.
Duncan will fly home to Dunedin in June, making the most of the two-and-a-half-month gap in the series’ revised calendar before returning to Europe to contest the final WMX round in Turkey on September 3.
WMX – Championship top 10 classification after two rounds:
1. Lynn Valk (NED, YAM), 97 points; 2. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, YAM), 91 p.; 3. Shana van der Vlist (NED, KTM), 68 p.; 4. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, YAM), 63 p.; 5. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, KAW), 63 p.; 6. Martine Hughes (NOR, HON), 52 p.; 7. Malou Jakobsen (DEN, KTM), 49 p.; 8. Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), 45 p.; 9. Giorgia Blasigh (ITA, YAM), 45 p.; 10. Tahlia Jade O’Hare (AUS, HON), 42 p.
2022 Women’s Motocross World Championship calendar:
Round 1: March 5-6, MXGP of Lombardia, Mantova, Italy.
Round 2: April 2-3, MXGP of Portugal, Agueda.
Round 3: May 14-15, MXGP of Sardegna, Riola Sardo, Sardinia.
Round 4: May 28-29, MXGP of Spain, intu Xanadú.
Round 5: August 20-21, MXGP of Charente Maritime, St Jean d’Angely, France.
Round 6: September 3-4, MXGP of Turkey, Afyonkarahisar.
Photo courtesy Kawasaki
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