Interview: Courtney Duncan discusses WMX – her wins and the level
Last year Courtney Duncan was going for four WMX titles in a row but an injury ruined her chances but the Kiwi is on it this year in a very deep field of WMX talent. Duncan is getting stronger each GP and looks incredibly hard to stop at the moment with two rounds to go.
We caught up with Duncan after her dominate French GP win.
GateDrop: Courtney, apart from the small tip over in the first moto that was pretty much a masterclass! You must be happy with how your GP went here in France?
Duncan: Yeah, pretty happy with the way it went to be fair. It started off really good by getting pole position, the first moto, like you say I had a small tip over but came back and managed to pass for the lead pulling a pretty good gap. I am super happy with that one, the track was challenging and what not so it suited me really well. Today obviously was a flat track but I took the holeshot which felt nice and pulled a small gap holding to the end so it was the perfect weekend.
GateDrop: The track yesterday, pfft that was rough! I notice when tracks get lots of ruts it seems to suit you, is that conditions you grew up in or what would you put it down too?
Duncan: Yeah, I definitely prefer when the track is challenging. When we get mid-day or end of the day moto’s when the track is super brutal like it was yesterday, it suits me well. It just makes it more technical and you have to be smart. With today when it is super flat like that it is kind of everyone’s game. We just try to do the best we can no matter the conditions.
GateDrop: When it comes to track prep, they obviously had to fix certain areas at the end of Saturday because it was getting dangerous but instead of levelling the whole track would you like them to leave certain sections rough?
Duncan: Yeah, I mean I guess it has to cater for the end of today so when the track is the way it was at the end of yesterday, it’s hard to leave it. Unfortunately they have to flatten the whole thing and we are up first on Sunday. But it’s good, I had a perfect weekend.
GateDrop: Just on last year, you were going for 4 titles in a row but then a blow in Portugal getting injured. What was that like to deal with, frustrating or where you able to go back home and take your mind away from racing?
Duncan: Yeah, at the time it is devastating with the personal ambition that goes into trying to win the title each year. When you fall short of that, you get that devastating feeling but I was able to come back last year to win a couple of races at the end of the season which felt good and build on that this year. To be honest, I’ve forgot about last year, we are on this year and we are chasing this title.
GateDrop: Every GP it feels like you’re getting better and better, does it feel like that? I’d say this was your most dominating win yet this season…
Duncan: For sure, I think we have been building momentum and already I started off in Sardinia in the sand. I am not known as a sand rider so to get a podium there started me off well and then three GP wins to date. We are building each weekend and unfortunately we have a big gap now but we will come out swinging at Arnhem.
GateDrop: Just on WMX, what’s your thoughts on the level this year? Watching from the side-lines there’s so many fast girls, it could be the best it’s ever been in depth!
Duncan: Absolutely, the class is good. The competitors are getting better and better, which is awesome. It makes for some good racing and I’m stoked. It is good to see the girls getting faster and it has made me step up my game this year which I think I have.
GateDrop: I have to ask you about Lotte van Drunen, at 15 years old, what do you think of her talent and do you see any similarities with yourself when you were her age?
Duncan: She’s good, for sure she is really good. She will be a champion one day, no doubt. But it is hard to single people out like that, I do get asked a lot but look at Daniela who is 16 as well. She has just had four podiums so there’s a lot of young girls coming through which is awesome. It is great to see the growth in the sport.
GateDrop: A three month break now before Arnhem, will you head back home, stay in the UK or what’s on the agenda?
Duncan: I am heading home, I am not sure exactly for how long. It’s not necessarily going to be a break but you know, just to get home. I will carry on the same routine as I have all season but just a little bit of a break to see my friends and family. A taste of Kiwi fresh air and then I’ll be back ready to go.
GateDrop: Jack Chambers is part of the DRT Kawasaki team now and you both have each other, you can probably help him a lot too when it comes to how the tracks etc will form…
Duncan: I think it’s been awesome, it has been really good for both of us. We are both obviously far afield and on our own. We get a long really well, it’s like having a new best mate so it’s cool. He is a good team mate, I feel like I’m able to help him and he is really helpful for me on the riding side of things. It has been a good fit.
GateDrop: Just on WMX, you are racing on the other side of the world, will we continue to see you in this paddock for many years? It would be great to see you battle with all these new young girls as they continue to get better…
Duncan: Yeah, I don’t see myself retiring any time soon. I feel like I’m not even at my peak, I’ve still got along way to go. I’ve still got away to go so I’ll be here for years to come.
Interview: Andy McKinstry
Images: Infront Moto Racing