Championships on the line

By David Thomson on Sat, 16 Sep 2017

Will Otago be celebrating the crowning of its first motorsport world champion early next week?

That's certainly what I am hoping for as the FIM women's motocross world championship heads for a thrilling finale in the southeast of France this weekend.

As regular Otago Daily Times readers will know, Palmerston rider Courtney Duncan remains in firm contention for the title despite slipping to second in the championship standings after a disappointing run in last weekend's penultimate event held in the Netherlands.

Heading for the last round of the series, Dutch rider Nancy van de Ven is two points clear of Duncan in the title race. Defending champion Livia Lancelot (France) and Kiara Fontanesi from Italy are the other two to watch: between them, these four riders have shared the victory spoils throughout the 2017 season.

Duncan seems philosophical about her results last weekend, describing it as ‘‘one of those weekends''. I certainly hope she is right, and that she will end the 2017 season as she started it, with a round win. As it happens, Duncan isn't the only Kiwi chasing an international motorsport crown this weekend: Scott Dixon is also only a few points off the lead in the 2017 Indycar title fight heading into the final round of that championship. My pick is that Dixon is going to have his work cut out to beat championship leader Josef Newgarden to the trophy. On the other hand, the Kiwi has an excellent record at California's Sonoma Raceway, which is the venue for this weekend's title decider.

This weekend also sees the continuation of the 2017 Formula One world championship, with Singapore hosting the first of four rounds in Asia. Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel needs to win in Singapore to interrupt Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton's momentum in the title fight, and the inside word seems to be that the Singapore street circuit will favour Ferrari.

Speaking of Ferrari, Dunedin-based fans of the famous Italian sporting marque should make a point of heading to today's Autospectacular at the Edgar Centre. Close to 20 Ferraris will feature among almost 300 vehicles on show; this is likely to be the largest gathering of Ferraris in Dunedin, and reminds me of a major car show here in the mid-1980s when a Ferrari Daytona was - from my perspective - the star attraction.

American muscle cars, rotary-powered Mazdas, and V8 Rovers are the other points of focus at this year's Autospectacular.

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David Thomson