Scott Dixon and Courtney Duncan are the two remaining motorsport stars in the running for top honours in next month’s Halberg Awards.
Dixon is one of four finalists for New Zealand Sportsman of the Year, while Duncan is in a similar boat for Sportswoman of the Year.
Initially, four athletes from the motorsport discipline were announced as nominees for the illustrious award ceremony.
However, neither Shane van Gisbergen nor Scott McLaughlin can win top honours.
The 79-strong nominee list was culled down to 28 yesterday.
Dixon has already won Sportsman of the Year before. Twice, in fact.
His first came after a maiden Indy 500 win in 2008 and in 2013 when he won his third IndyCar championship.
Because last year’s Halberg Awards were canned because of Covid-19, this year’s ceremony recognises achievements across 2020 and 2021.
In 2020, Dixon claimed a sixth IndyCar Series title.
Only the legendary A.J Foyt has more championship rings with seven.
And when it comes to race wins, Dixon ranks third on the all-time list.
The other three Sportsman of the Year finalists are Blackcaps’ skipper Kane Williamson, rowing gold medallist Hamish Bond, and squash world no.2 Paul Coll.
As for Duncan, the past three years could not have gone any better.
The Otago motocross rider is a three-time women’s world champion, all of which came in successive years.
Duncan is unquestionably one of the best motocross riders in the world right now and, at only 25, is expected to continue dominating the sport for several years.
She faces some stiff competition in the Sportswoman of the Year category. Other finalists are rower Emma Twigg, golfer Lydia Ko, rugby sevens player Sarah Hirini, and canoe champion Dame Lisa Carrington.
Dixon and Duncan are also eligible for the Supreme Award, which goes to the country’s most outstanding athlete, coach or team.
The Halberg Awards are on February 23.