NZ’s Duncan scores third set of double Women’s Motocross World Championship wins.
AUGUST 19, 2019:
There seems to be no stopping Kiwi motocross sensation Courtney Duncan as she hones in on her first Women’s Motocross World Championship (WMX) title, after notching up her third double set of wins at the MXGP of Italy this weekend.
The Otago-born, Bike It Dixon Racing Team (DRT) Kawasaki rider has extended her overall lead out to a huge 23 points, with only one round left to run early next month.
Don’t ever think Duncan (23) had it easy, as she fought tooth and nail for her two victories at the epic ‘Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari’ Italian circuit in Imola. After qualifying first – making her debut on the hard-pack slick track – she elbowed her way into the lead early in the hot race, where temperatures soared up over 30degC.
A small fall saw Duncan drop behind Nancy Van De Ven, before she caught and passed the Dutch woman mid-race, leaving her to eventually finish third behind German rider Larissa Papenmeier, who was second. Duncan showed her world-class pedigree, recovering to win by 8.2secs, while not putting undue pressure on herself.
“It was really difficult for me. The track changed a lot from qualifying to the first moto. It took a while to adapt to the conditions. I wasn’t willing to do anything more than I had to do to protect my championship lead,” Duncan says.
She went out and hit repeat on the second race, notching up her seventh race win and third overall round victory in 2019, leaving her rivals to pick up the podium spots. Papenmeier was again runner-up and Belgium’s Amandine Verstappen was third.
“It’s a good weekend if you can extend your lead in the championship and get two wins. It didn’t come easy for me though. I found the track difficult. It was hard pack and slick, but they put a lot of water down, so I had to be careful not to make too many mistakes because it could catch me out. I didn’t get into that nice rhythm until about halfway through the races. It feels even better when you win like that. I’m in a good position heading into the final round in Turkey in three weeks’ time” Duncan says.
“The Kawasaki KX250 was super good. I’m really gelling with the bike – like I’ve said all season, its set up really nicely for me. Its good to put the green on top for sure!” she adds.
Duncan will remain in Europe to train with the experienced British Kawasaki squad Bike It DRT, who she has been racing for this season.
Kawasaki New Zealand have been supporting Duncan’s campaign and are proud to see her flying the green flag so successfully overseas, Managing Director Shane Verhoeven says.
“It’s great to see Courtney extend her championship lead heading into the final WMX round in three weeks’ time and for her to be undefeated since switching to the 2020 KX250, makes her success this weekend even sweeter to watch.”
Words: Catherine Pattison
Photos: MXGP and Kawasaki EU