5 September 2022
It might not have been the fourth FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship title that New Zealand’s Courtney Duncan was aiming for, but a final round victory in Turkey left her rivals under no illusion that she’ll be back with a vengeance in 2023.
Arriving at the MXGP Of Turkey in Afyonkarahisar, following a two-and-a-half-month break in the series’ revised calendar, Duncan quickly demonstrated that she meant business. She topped the first timed practice and went on to win both WMX races.
Duncan says she came into this final round “wanting to finish the season off strong and with a 1-1 we were able to do that, so from that side, it was good.”
“Tough season though, and we are naturally disappointed to lose the crown but proud to keep fighting all the way to the end,” she adds.
Big Van World MTX Kawasaki rider Courtney Duncan (#1) charges hard off the WMX start line in Turkey. PHOTO CREDIT: MXGP
The Big Van World MTX Kawasaki rider, from Otago, had returned to New Zealand to train in her home country following a round win at the series fourth instalment in Spain at the end of May. She had elected to sit out the third outing in Sardinia after breaking her collarbone in April’s second WMX round in Portugal.
Duncan says that she is “gutted that the season is over.”
“With having the injury mid-season, I feel like I’m only getting started and just want to keep racing and building. Next year can’t come quick enough!”
PHOTO CREDIT: MXGP
Notching up her third race win for the season yesterday lifted Duncan to seventh in the final WMX standings, with 129 points. Dutchwoman Nancy Van De Ven ended Duncan’s three-consecutive-year winning streak and finally became the 2022 WMX World Champion.
The first title holder from Holland and only the fifth Women’s World Champion, Van De Ven joined multi-time champions and legends of the sport Livia Lancelot, Stephanie Laier, Kiara Fontanesi and Duncan – who have been winners since the series officially became recognised as a World Championship 13 years ago.
While the season belongs to Van De Ven, Turkey was Duncan’s for the taking and in race one, she grabbed the holeshot. After getting caught up with another rider on the second corner, the Kiwi Kawasaki rider dropped back to fifth, allowing Germany’s Larissa Papenmeier to take over first place.
Duncan moved back into the lead after a quick back and forth exchange with Papenmeier on lap 3. The pair pushed each other until the end and finished first and second with Duncan crossing the finish line a mere 0:04.187 secs ahead.
In the second heat, Duncan secured the holeshot again as she led the way in front of Italy’s Elisa Galvagno, Papenmeier, and Dutchwoman Shana Van der Vlist.
The Kiwi then left her competitors to fight it out for the rest of the race and comfortably led the way to charge past the chequered flag first.
It gave Duncan the top step of the final round podium with the perfect 1-1 score card ahead of Papenmeier, who was second, while Denmark’s Sara Andersen was third.
In terms of the WMX Championship standings, Van De Ven was crowned as World Champion after finishing second for the last four years in a row, while Valk secured second, and Papenmeier took third.
Kawasaki New Zealand’s Managing Director Shane Verhoeven says it must have been a “bittersweet weekend for Courtney.”
“She stamped her dominance in Turkey with a 1-1 result but lost out on winning four consecutive championships because of her early-season injury. Covid hindered Courtney’s pre-season preparation, and she only arrived in Europe days before the first round. She can be proud of what she’s achieved this season despite the setbacks.”
“We look forward to seeing her head home over summer, where she can reset and refocus on regaining the title in 2023,” he says.
Courtney Duncan (centre) wins the final WMX round in Turkey over the weekend. PHOTO CREDIT: MXGP
WMX – Race 1 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Courtney Duncan (NZL, Kawasaki), 25:50.372; 2. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, Yamaha), +0:04.187; 3. Lynn Valk (NED, Yamaha), +0:19.706; 4. Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), +0:28.122; 5. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:31.813; 6. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, Yamaha), +0:32.612; 7. Lotte Van Drunen (NED, KTM), +0:34.088; 8. Charli Cannon (AUS, Yamaha), +0:36.062; 9. Martine Hughes (NOR, Honda), +0:44.305; 10. Shana van der Vlist (NED, KTM), +0:51.330;
WMX – Race 2 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Courtney Duncan (NZL, Kawasaki), 25:11.376; 2. Shana van der Vlist (NED, KTM), +0:04.502; 3. Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), +0:12.989; 4. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, Yamaha), +0:14.077; 5. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:16.209; 6. Lynn Valk (NED, Yamaha), +0:18.403; 7. Lotte Van Drunen (NED, KTM), +0:19.024; 8. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, Yamaha), +0:33.242; 9. Elisa Galvagno (ITA, Husqvarna), +0:47.982; 10. Tahlia Jade O’Hare (AUS, Honda), +0:54.561;
WMX – Overall Top 10 Classification: 1. Courtney Duncan (NZL, KAW), 50 points; 2. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, YAM), 40 p.; 3. Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), 38 p.; 4. Lynn Valk (NED, YAM), 35 p.; 5. Shana van der Vlist (NED, KTM), 33 p.; 6. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, KAW), 32 p.; 7. Lotte Van Drunen (NED, KTM), 28 p.; 8. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, YAM), 28 p.; 9. Malou Jakobsen (DEN, KTM), 20 p.; 10. Tahlia Jade O’Hare (AUS, HON), 19 p.;
WMX – Championship Top 10 Classification: 1. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, YAM), 201 points; 2. Lynn Valk (NED, YAM), 183 p.; 3. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, YAM), 172 p.; 4. Shana van der Vlist (NED, KTM), 168 p.; 5. Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), 138 p.; 6. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, KAW), 134 p.; 7. Courtney Duncan (NZL, KAW), 129 p.; 8. Martine Hughes (NOR, HON), 114 p.; 9. Giorgia Blasigh (ITA, YAM), 110 p.; 10. Tahlia Jade O’Hare (AUS, HON), 102 p.;
WMX – Manufacturers Classification: 1. Yamaha, 229 points; 2. KTM, 203 p.; 3. Kawasaki, 178 p.; 4. Honda, 147 p.; 5. Husqvarna, 44 p.; 6. Fantic, 35 p.; 7. GASGAS, 7 p.;
Words: Catherine Pattison