New Zealand’s Courtney Duncan has extended her series lead in the FIM Women’s World Motocross Championships with another double race win, this time at round four of the series in France at the weekend.
The Big Van World MTX Kawasaki Team rider from Otago was once again dominant on her production KX250 Kawasaki and she delivered a slice of motocross history after winning the opening race at the Villars-sous-Écot circuit on Saturday and she then added icing to the cake by also winning race two the next day, with that extending her world championship lead to a comfortable 20 points over Spanish GasGas rider Daniela Guillen.
Duncan has now notched up a record 22nd career round wins – moving one ahead of long-time rival and six-time world champion Kiara Fontanesi, of Italy.
GasGas rider Fontanesi finished runner-up to Duncan in both races at Villars-sous-Écot.
Duncan, herself a three-time world champion, is on a purple patch of form, having won both races in the previous round in Spain two weeks ago to go to the top of this year’s standings and certainly embellished that in France at the weekend.
The French organisers had done a tremendous job of track preparation overnight; indeed speeds were so high, with lap times 15 seconds faster than the previous day, that Sunday morning’s second race ran to one more lap than the Saturday race during the 20-minute-plus-two-lap race distance.
The 27-year-old Duncan, from Dunedin, was a comfortable race one winner, despite crashing off the track when she became cross-rutted off a big jump mid-race. But she fought back and quickly retook the lead and held on to win by a whopping 27 seconds.
Duncan then made life a lot more comfortable for herself in race two the following day by taking a commanding holeshot.
She was already four seconds clear of her chasers at the completion of the opening lap, extending her advantage to around 10 seconds by half-distance, before throttling back to defend that lead as she coped with lappers and she eventually took the chequered flag, with both arms aloft, seven seconds clear.
It was a big weekend all-round for the New Zealander as she raced to her third consecutive GP victory for 2023.
She had to be content with finishing an unaccustomed third overall at the opening round of the series in Sardegna, in Italy, back in March, but she then bounced back in emphatic style by winning the next three rounds on the trot.
“These two wins at the French GP at the weekend saw me take over the (record for) all-time GP wins in WMX and I’m definitely stoked with that,” said Duncan.
“It was something I wanted to achieve coming into this weekend, so to tick that off is an incredibly good feeling.
“It is a really good weekend for me, I cannot ask for much more. The first race was really challenging, but the second race was easier in terms of conditions. I’m very happy with two race wins and for extending the lead in the championship. It was great racing and it is good to see Kiara (Fontanesi) back on the podium too. I’m looking forward to the next round (at Arnhem, in the Netherlands, on August 19-20).”
The WMX series now takes a break until that mid-August date and Duncan will head home to New Zealand to continue preparation for the final two GPs of the series, content that she has what is required to collect yet another world championship trophy at season’s end in September.
If she does, it will be Duncan’s fourth world title in her five-year collaboration with the Kawasaki brand.
© Photo courtesy Kawasaki Europe
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RESULTS AND STANDINGS:
WMX – Race 1 – Top 10 Classification:
1.Courtney Duncan (NZL, Kawasaki), 26:40.276; 2. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, GASGAS), +0:27.263; 3. Daniela Guillen (ESP, GASGAS), +0:35.187; 4. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, Yamaha), +0:41.001; 5. Lotte Van Drunen (NED, Kawasaki), +0:44.094; 6. Lynn Valk (NED, Fantic), +0:47.843; 7. Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), +1:25.376; 8. Mathilde Martinez (FRA, GASGAS), +1:38.506; 9. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, Yamaha), +1:45.255; 10. Martine Hughes (NOR, Husqvarna), +2:04.735.
WMX – Race 2 – Top 10 Classification:
1. Courtney Duncan (NZL, Kawasaki), 25:33.282; 2. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, GASGAS), +0:07.444; 3. Daniela Guillen (ESP, GASGAS), +0:09.403; 4. Lotte Van Drunen (NED, Kawasaki), +0:17.509; 5. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, Yamaha), +0:31.275; 6. Lynn Valk (NED, Fantic), +0:37.028; 7. Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), +0:57.815; 8. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, Yamaha), +1:07.731; 9. Danee Gelissen (NED, KTM), +1:18.948; 10. Mathea Seleboe (NOR, Yamaha), +1:21.736.
WMX – Overall Top 10 Classification:
1. Courtney Duncan (NZL, KAW), 50 points; 2. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, GAS), 44 p.; 3. Daniela Guillen (ESP, GAS), 40 p.; 4. Lotte Van Drunen (NED, KAW), 34 p.; 5. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, YAM), 34 p.; 6. Lynn Valk (NED, FAN), 30 p.; 7. Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), 28 p.; 8. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, YAM), 25 p.; 9. Mathilde Martinez (FRA, GAS), 22 p.; 10. Danee Gelissen (NED, KTM), 21 p.
WMX – Championship Top 10 Classification:
1. Courtney Duncan (NZL, KAW), 185 points; 2. Daniela Guillen (ESP, GAS), 165 p.; 3. Lotte Van Drunen (NED, KAW), 150 p.; 4. Lynn Valk (NED, FAN), 128 p.; 5. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, GAS), 127 p.; 6. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, YAM), 105 p.; 7. Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), 103 p.; 8. Charli Cannon (AUS, YAM), 91 p.; 9. Britt Jans-Beken (NED, YAM), 84 p.; 10. Giorgia Blasigh (ITA, KTM), 73 p.
2023 WMX calendar:
Rnd 1: Sardegna (ITA) – Riola Sardo, 25-26 Mar
Rnd 2: Switzerland – Frauenfeld, 8-10 Apr
Rnd 3: Spain – intu Xanadú – Arroyomolinos, 6-7 May
Rnd 4: France – Villars sous Ecot, 20-21 May
Rnd 5: Netherlands – Arnhem, 19-20 Aug
Rnd 6: Turkey – Afyonkarahisar, 2-3 Sep