Otago's Courtney Duncan was unbeatable at the third round of six in the Women's Motocross World Championships (WMX) in Germany at the weekend, while Mangakino's Maximus Purvis topped the podium in the Development (MXD, under-19) class at double-header rounds three and four of the Australian Motocross Championships at Wonthaggi, in Victoria, on Saturday and Sunday.
Duncan's back-to-back race wins at the German circuit of Teutschenthal, near Halle and not far from Leipzig, was her second clean-sweep of the season – she has now won five of the six races thus far run and, with six more races to go (two at each remaining round) before the championship wraps up in Italy in September, Duncan is ideally placed to clinch the world title that she was so cruelly denied in 2016 and again last year.
The 22-year-old won the first of her two races in Germany by a solid 6.9 seconds over Italian Yamaha ace Kiara Fontanesi, the defending world champion, and then beat Fontanesi to the chequered flag by a massive 15.3 seconds in race two the following day (yesterday morning NZ time). This boosted Duncan's advantage from three to 15 points over her nearest challenger for the title, German Suzuki rider Larissa Papenmeier. Papenmeier finished fourth and then third in the two races in Germany. Fontanesi and Dutch Yamaha rider Nancy Van De Ven are now third equal in the championship standings, seven points behind Papenmeier and 22 points adrift of Duncan. "Overall the weekend went pretty good. I think when you go 1-1, you have to be happy and I am. I’m also really excited for (the next round at) Ottobiano (in Italy, on June 17)," said Duncan. It was perhaps also fitting that, as she was racing in Germany, Duncan was being honoured by the sport's governing body at home, Motorcycling New Zealand, her grand-parents on hand to accept on behalf her award as 2017 Female Rider of the Year at the organisation's annual awards ceremony in Queenstown.
Meanwhile, across the Tasman Sea, at Wonthaggi in the Australian state of Victoria, 17-year-old Purvis was the MXD class winner at both rounds three and four of the double-header event. He posted identical 2-1 score-cards on both days, on both occasions sharing the wins with fellow Yamaha star Bailey Malkiewicz, and in both instances Purvis was declared overall winner because of the count-back rule. These results lifted Purvis from eighth to fifth overall after four of eight rounds and he is on 217 points, just one point shy of fourth-ranked rider Hugh McKay. Malkiewicz leads the series with 248 points.
Duncan, Purvis and the Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing team are supported by Altherm Window Systems, JCR, Yamaha Motor New Zealand, Yamaha Motor Europe, CRC Industries, ADOS, Monster Energy, Liv Cycling, Fox Racing, Mazda NZ, Veraa Metaal, Yamalube, GYTR, bLUcRU, Akrapovic, Ward Demolition, Star Moving, Holland Collision Centre, www.workshopgraphics.co.nz, YMF, YMI, Pirelli, Twin Air, DID, Samco Sport, Renthal, NGK, Motomuck, Vertex, X-trig, Motoseat and SKF.
Words and photo by Andy McGechan