Courtney Duncan always dreamed of rubbing shoulders with New Zealand’s best sporting talent at the Halberg Awards.
While the three-time Women’s World Motocross champion has now cemented herself as part of that elite group, attending last month’s Halberg Awards was still a pretty special moment.
Duncan was nominated for sportswoman of the year, a title won by Dame Lisa Carrington, who also claimed the supreme Halberg Award, but Duncan said it was ‘‘a real honour’’ just to be nominated and to attend the event.
‘‘It’s always been a dream to attend the Halbergs. I remember watching it as a little girl with my parents hoping one day I’d make it there,’’ Duncan said.
The former Palmerston athlete returned home for the New Zealand summer, and despite not being able to leave isolation until Boxing Day due to a Covid-19 outbreak at her MIQ facility, it was great to ‘‘refresh’’ before heading back to Europe.
‘‘Although it was a very quick trip, and with being stuck in Europe the months prior, it meant straight back to business once I arrived home.’’
After delays receiving her visa, Duncan only arrived in Europe three weeks ago —three days before the opening round of the world championship in Italy.
It showed, as for the first time in seven years, Duncan did not win a race in the opening round, finishing third and ninth in her races.
It was a ‘‘tough’’ way to start the season, but having bounced back from major crashes and challenges to win before, Duncan knew she was capable of doing it again.
‘‘Bottom line is, I need to be better.
‘‘The journey to get here hasn’t been an easy one. With that being said, I’ve battled through plenty of adversity before and I know I’ll be able to do that again.’’
Next Saturday, Duncan gets a chance to reverse her performance in the second round in Portugal.
She expected the coming round to be ‘‘smoother sailing’’ and felt more relaxed now.
‘‘I’ve been here a few weeks, things have settled down a lot and I’m starting to adjust back into it again.’’
She was determined to win another world title, and would work hard to improve in each round.
‘‘It’s been a rocky start so I want to turn things around and get some dubs [wins].’’