'No place like home' – Kiwi motocross star refuelling in Dunedin before final push for maiden world title

With two rounds to go in the world motocross series, Dunedin rider Courtney Duncan is closer than ever before to securing her maiden world series crown.

The 22-year-old leads the circuit by 21 points with two events remaining but with a break in her schedule, she's enjoyed the chance to relax at home and reflect on what has been a near perfect season.

"No place like home," she said.

"Very happy with how the season's gone. If you had of asked me at the start of the year had I been four rounds into the season and had a 20 point lead, I would have been really stoked with that."

Despite being one of the top riders for the previous two seasons, Duncan's never held a lead like this going into the final two events of the season.

It means winning those final few races might not even be necessary – a thought she admits has crossed her mind.

"You do have that in the back of your mind - you don't have to go crazy to get those extra three points to take the win.

"I think I even showed that at the last round where I had two second [place finishes]. I didn't exactly need to [win] there."

That's not always been the case for Duncan who in previous seasons felt winning was the only option.

"If it takes a third place and I’m champion, at the end of the day, honestly, it doesn’t matter because my goal is to be world champion."

The mid-season three month break came at the perfect time for Duncan as she nurses fractures in her right foot.

"I'm not stressing about it, we've got a bit of time on our hands and I just have to make sure that I get healthy and fully heal before I start back."

Duncan returns to her European base in Brussels next week, before the final two events in September.

Courtney Duncan is enjoying her time in Dunedin before the final two rounds. Source: 1 NEWS


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Supercars icon Craig Lowndes to end 21-year career at end of 2018 championship

Six-time Bathurst 1000 champion Craig Lowndes will call time on his 21-year Supercars career at the end of the 2018 championship.

An emotional Lowndes announced in Townsville on Friday that this year will be his final full-time season in the category.

The 44-year-old said he'd been discussing retirement with Triple Eight Race Engineering team boss Roland Dane for months but only came to a decision two weeks ago.

"Although my current contract with Triple Eight finishes in another 18 months time, both Roland and I have come to the decision that this will be my last full-time drive in a Supercar," Lowndes said.

"I've always said that Bathurst 2006 was the most emotional and toughest race I've ever done in my career but I can say with a heavy heart that this has been the hardest decision that myself and my team have had to make."

Lowndes claimed his 106th career race win earlier this year in Tasmania and heads into this weekend's Townsville 400 fourth on the championship standings.

He said he hadn't given up hope of going out on top, with a fourth career championship.

"I want to make sure I finish my last full-time season with some strong results in the bag," he said.

Lowndes retires from full-time driving as one of the most popular and successful drivers in the championship history.

He debuted for the Holden Racing Team as an endurance driver in 1994 before making his full-time debut in 1996, winning the first of his three championships that year.

After an unsuccessful stint in Europe in 1997, Lowndes returned to HRT winning the 1998 and 1999 championships before a controversial switch to Ford in 2000.

He joined Triple Eight in 2005, claiming five Bathurst titles while with the team including a win in 2006 just weeks after mentor Peter Brock died.

Teammate Jamie Whincup attended Friday's press conference along with Lowndes' wife Lara and former teammate Greg Murphy.

Lowndes will remain with Triple Eight as an endurance driver from 2019 onwards as well as joining Supercars' television broadcast team.

"We don't know yet who Craig's going to be co-driving with for the enduros - that depends on the structure of the team - but he's undoubtedly got a few more Bathurst wins in him," Dane said.

Craig Lowndes


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Meet New Zealand’s next motorsport star: Humble 16-year-old Liam Lawson

Sixteen-year-old race driver Liam Lawson is currently plying his trade in the German Formula Four championship.

The Kiwi from Pukekohe sits in second place overall, calling it an eye-opening experience - from the fantatical fans to the high level of competition.

Even on holiday, Lawson is keeping his foot down thanks to a simulator he likes to call 'homework'.

"I used to do a lot of sim stuff just for fun but now it's really become something that we use as preparation for a race."

When it comes to racing on the track, the teenager is making a name for himself in the German competition.

He's finished on the podium in eight of the 12 races so far, winning two of them.

He’s says it’s a sensation like no other.

"It's like Formula One. We go up on the podium and we have the national anthem played, our flag gets held above us so it's a proud moment."

The competition is a training ground for the best; F1 legend Michael Schumacher's nephew competes and two current F1 drivers came through Lawson's team, Van Amersfoort racing.

Lawson said the fan support is huge.

"I had a German lady come up to me and she called me over and got out this book like this folder and pulled out like 30 photos that she'd printed out from when I was in go karts and NZ and Australian racing - basically everything I've done!"

But the Kiwi driver's life is a constant juggle.

Competing not only requires talent but hundreds of thousands of dollars and while some drivers show up to races in private jets, Lawson relies on generous sponsors.

"There are many more Kiwi drivers just like me that need the opportunity that I've been given to do something like this so I've just really got to make the most of it."

Lawson is plying his trade in the German Formula 4 where he currently sits second overall. Source: 1 NEWS


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