8 May 2023
Duncan takes over WMX lead with double victories in Spain
Giving her winner’s speech for the second time over the Spanish MXGP weekend, New Zealand’s Courtney Duncan surmised that she couldn’t have asked for more.
The Big Van World MTX Kawasaki rider heads away from the intu Xanadú Arroyomolinos track with two FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship winner’s trophies, the round victory, and the coveted WMX championship leader’s red plate at the season’s halfway mark.
Duncan was dominant on her production KX250 Kawasaki as she raced to her first double-moto victory of the season, at the third WMX round. Achieving her 21st career GP victory in the second race has placed her first equal in the all-time series records.
Located near the Spanish capital of Madrid, this hard pack track has been kind to Dunedin’s Duncan in the past and she has left here victorious after her previous two rounds.
“I got the red plate back and went 1-1, so pretty satisfied with that. I don’t know what it is about Spain but I’ve always had success here and I really enjoy the layout of the track,” Duncan says.
She signalled her intentions early on in the weekend, lapping 0.75 secs faster than any of her rivals in the practice session.
Then in Saturday afternoon’s 20-minutes (plus two laps) opening moto she quickly advanced from a cautious third-placed start to take over the lead before the end of the opening lap. Moving clear of her chasers at the rate of 2 secs per lap she led comfortably by 15 secs at the race’s halfway mark and eventually cruised home 28 secs ahead of runner-up rider Italy’s Kiara Fontanesi.
The 25 points for moto victory also moved her to the head of the championship standings by five points going into the second race.
Duncan was closed down coming out of the start gate but she didn’t panic and moved steadily up to fifth. The sticky track conditions featured deep ruts in many of the turns due to the track-watering necessary to combat the intense Spanish heat. As per usual, the tougher it got – the better Duncan rode. She chose her lines cleverly to avoid coming together with her rivals, and picking them off one-by-one, moved to the front on the fourth of 11 laps. Duncan then eased away to take the chequered flag by 7 secs.
She now takes a 10-point WMX Championship lead to the next round of the series at Villars-sous-Ecot in France in a fortnight. Kawasaki also extended the lead in the FIM Manufacturers’ Championship to 16 points courtesy of Duncan’s double moto victory.
“It feels good to have the red plate back, but at the same time it’s just as important to go out and do my best every moto. As long as I have the red plate at the end of the season that’s all that matters,” Duncan says.
After taking the overall win at the second WMX round at Frauenfeld, Switzerland, over Easter, it feels like she’s on a roll.
“It was cool to carry on the momentum this weekend and hopefully we can carry it on to France in two weeks’ time,” Duncan says.
Kawasaki New Zealand’s Managing Director Shane Verhoeven was understandably thrilled about Duncan’s results.
“We couldn’t be prouder of Courtney’s ride in Spain. Coming from behind in both motos, she did what she needed to do to stay out of trouble and race forward. It was the championship ride she needed at the mid-way point of the season. I am sure she will take this confidence into her next round in France over the May 20 – 21 weekend,” he says.
WMX Race one https://youtu.be/siFIY8GeHT4
WMX Race two https://youtu.be/Te6QOSRJTmc
2023 FIM WMX Women’s Motocross World Championship calendar
|1||Sardegna (ITA) – Riola Sardo||25 – 26 Mar|
|2||Switzerland – Frauenfeld||8 – 10 Apr|
|3||Spain – intu Xanadú – Arroyomolinos||6 – 7 May|
|4||France – Villars sous Ecot||20 – 21 May|
|5||Netherlands – Arnhem||19 – 20 Aug|
|6||Turkey – Afyonkarahisar||2 – 3 Sep|
Credit: Words by Catherine Pattison
PHOTOS CREDIT: KAWASAKI EUROPE