Italy’s Kiara Fontanesi was crowned Women’s Motocross World Champion for the fifth time at the final Grand Prix of the season in France at the weekend.
Weather played a strong role in the championship this season and this weekend at the Villars-sous-Ecot circuit was no exception as riders had to race in the wet and treacherous conditions.
The championship was as tight coming into the weekend with only five points between the top four, including Franace’s defending world champion Livia Lancelot in her final professional race, but, in the end, the best all around rider proved to be Fontanesi as she took not only the championship but the overall as well.
As WMX race one started on a near perfect circuit, many eyes were on the four championship contenders of Nancy Van de Ven, Fontanesi, Lancelot, and Altherm JCR Yamaha’s Courtney Duncan, from New Zealand.
In the early stages of the first race Fontanesi led Van de ven, Duncan and Lancelot. Duncan made a quick move on the second lap to take over second but would fall on the following lap. As the rain poured down, the women kept battling in epic fashion.
Lancelot, now in third, was charging to the catch Van de Ven for second but unfortunately fell as she tried to pass down the inside of the start straight. Lancelot fall came just after Fontanesi fell out the lead and back to 4th. All the while Duncan made her way to the front, passing three riders in one lap.
Duncan led the following six laps before a large crash on the uphill section involving downed back markers caught her off guard and she also fell. Fontanesi took over the lead as she made her way through the pile up and Duncan rejoined in sixth position, after taking another run at the hill, which is where she would finish.
After a Race Direction meeting had the chance to consider the TV Footage, the original results from WMX race one prevailed which was a win for Yamaha’s Fontanesi, a second for Yamaha’s Van de ven, who maintained the championship points lead, and a third for Kawasaki’s Lancelot.
Fontanesi took the race win after a difficult morning of feeling ill and went into Sunday with added confidence.
Race two for the women was the first of on the track after overnight rain and it would again be an amazing battle.
Duncan came back on a mission and jumped out to the early lead with Lancelot and Van de Ven in tow.
For seven of the 10 laps the top three remained the same which would have resulted in the championship for Van de Ven. However it wasn’t meant to be as Van de Ven got stuck and later fell on the uphill step, Van de Ven was passed by Germany’s Larissa Papenmeier, losing the points she desperately needed.
‘Kiwi Girl’ Duncan took the win ahead of Lancelot and Fontanesi after lapping every rider but second place. In the championship Fontanesi beat out Lancelot by a single point for the title and Duncan took third.
Throughout the season Fontanesi has had a series of ups and down starting in Indonesia where she struggled in race one but came back to finish second in race two.
Words & photo: Youthstream
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RESULTS & STANDINGS:
WMX Race 1 Top Ten:
1. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, Yamaha), 26:14.030; 2. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, Yamaha), +0:26.646; 3. Livia Lancelot (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:49.100; 4. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, KTM), +1:16.439; 5. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, Suzuki), +1:23.239; 6. Courtney Duncan (NZL, Yamaha), +2:07.722; 7. Jessie Joineau (FRA, Honda), -1 lap(s); 8. Madison Brown (AUS, Yamaha), -1 lap(s); 9. Justine Charroux (FRA, Yamaha), -1 lap(s); 10. Virginie Germond (SUI, Yamaha), -1 lap(s).
WMX Race 2 Top Ten:
1. Courtney Duncan (NZL, Yamaha), 27:36.604; 2. Livia Lancelot (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:46.824; 3. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, Yamaha), -1 lap(s); 4. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, Suzuki), -1 lap(s); 5. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, Yamaha), -3 lap(s); 6. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, KTM), -3 lap(s); 7. Mathilde Martinez (FRA, Husqvarna), -3 lap(s); 8. Virginie Germond (SUI, Yamaha), -3 lap(s); 9. Francesca Nocera (ITA, Suzuki), -4 lap(s); 10. Anne Borchers (GER, Suzuki), -5 lap(s).
WMX Overall Top Ten:
1. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, YAM), 45 points; 2. Livia Lancelot (FRA, KAW), 42 p.; 3. Courtney Duncan (NZL, YAM), 40 p.; 4. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, YAM), 38 p.; 5. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, SUZ), 34 p.; 6. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, KTM), 33 p.; 7. Virginie Germond (SUI, YAM), 24 p.; 8. Mathilde Martinez (FRA, HUS), 23 p.; 9. Justine Charroux (FRA, YAM), 21 p.; 10. Anne Borchers (GER, SUZ), 16 p.
WMX Championship Top Ten:
1. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, YAM), 233 points; 2. Livia Lancelot (FRA, KAW), 232 p.; 3. Courtney Duncan (NZL, YAM), 231 p.; 4. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, YAM), 231 p.; 5. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, SUZ), 194 p.; 6. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, KTM), 184 p.; 7. Nicky van Wordragen (NED, YAM), 119 p.; 8. Francesca Nocera (ITA, SUZ), 95 p.; 9. Virginie Germond (SUI, YAM), 94 p.; 10. Shana van der Vlist (NED, KTM), 89 p.