World motocross star Courtney Duncan's off-season of recovery back home in New Zealand has gone as well and she will be ready when the 2018 season starts in Italy in April.
The 21-year-old Altherm JCR Yamaha Team rider missed out on the world championship in cruel circumstances the past two years and immediately underwent major off-season surgery to repair a damaged ACL in her knee and an injured left hand.
She was racing the clock to recover in time for the start of 2018 but the rehab has gone well and she will depart New Zealand this month to prepare for the opening round of the championship.
"I came home at the start of November and basically had a month off, got to catch up with my friends and hang out," Duncan told The Herald. "At the start of December I really got stuck into a lot of training in the gym and going for long cycles and started building for the 2018 season.
"Just recently I have been given clearance to get back on the dirt bike so it has been a pretty good off-season."
While she still isn't back to 100 percent Duncan's knee is healing well and the strength will come back as she picks up her training loads.
"The knee is obviously a big one – it is a 5-6 month period that you are off the dirt bike so we wanted to get that done as soon as possible," she explained.
"It is going really good though. We have made huge gains on that lately. We have a bit of work to do – the prehab/rehab stuff that will never stop.
"As far as fitness on the bike goes – we have a lot of work to do having had six months off.
"I am going to have 5-6 weeks in total on the bike and I feel that is enough time to get up to speed. Obviously it is going to be a lot of hard work and long hours but I will be ready."
In 2016 Duncan was leading the world championship when she crashed into a photographer that was standing in the wrong place and injured herself, ending her hopes of winning the title. Then last year she avoided a pile up in the final round only to crash herself and have a post-race decision go against her that once again saw her miss the title.
But having had the best possible outcome with her rehab this year Duncan feels she is in a good space to make it third time lucky.
"I am just taking this year as a completely new start," she said. "I feel more motivated than ever. I feel I am in a good position so I am just looking forward to getting underway.
"With it being my third season I am no longer a rookie. I think I have learned a lot and gained a lot of experience in the good things and bad things that can happen."
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