4 September 2023
New Zealand’s Courtney Duncan has captured another FIM World WMX Women’s Motocross Championship, with a round win at the final round in Afyonkarahisar, Turkey.
This title takes Courtney’s championship tally to four, but it hasn’t come easy. Courtney bounced back from a 7th overall in the 2022 championship suffering from a broken collarbone early in the season, ending her chances of four consecutive championship titles.
Riding for Big Van World MTX Kawasaki (KX250), Duncan beat an on-form Spaniard Daniela Guillen to the title by 30 points. Rounding out the championship podium was Kawasaki stablemate Lotte Van Drunen, 10 points further back. Van Drunen proved to be a worthy competitor to Courtney at times during the season. The rookie and sand spacialist took the first race win of the season in the sand of Sardegna, Italy and backed it up with an overall round victory, going 1-1 at her home GP in the Netherlands.
However, it was Duncan who proved too much for her competition down the stretch, taking overall wins at 4 of the 6 of the championship rounds.
Left to right: Daniela Guillen (ESP), Courtney Duncan (NZL), Lotte Van Drunen (NED)
The championship title is sure to mean a little extra this year with Duncan fending off two former world champions in Nancy Van Der Ven (2022) and 6-time world champion Kiara Fontanessi to jump back on the top step of the podium. Van Der Ven would end her season early with injury after a crash with Australian rookie Charli Cannon.
Duncan would show her class at round 3 in Spain and round 4 in France with perfect 1-1 scores in both races to boost her hopes at the championship. She rode well in the deep sand at round 5, fighting hard against the sand specialists to finish 4th overall, keeping her championship alive and minimising the damage in conditions the Kiwi doesn’t frequent as much as her Euro counterparts.
Courtney rode smart at the final round in Turkey, staying clear of trouble in the first race to take an easy win. After race 1, the heavens opened up and created a treacherous race track. A 17th place finish in the final race would be enough to clinch the title. After electing to forgo the sighting lap, Duncan would get off to a good start but struggle on the opening lap as she figured out the muddy circuit. She rebounded to finish a safe 2nd place with carnage unfolding all around her to bring home her fourth World Championship.
Kawasaki would take the manufacturers title thanks to the combined efforts of Courtney and Lotte Van Drunen, capturing 292 points out of a perfect 300 having won 10 of the 12 championship races between them.
Courtney was pleased to celebrate the win with her mother and friends who made the trip to Turkey to support the Kiwi.
WMX – Championship Top 10 Classification: 1. Courtney Duncan (NZL, KAW), 270 points; 2. Daniela Guillen (ESP, GAS), 240 p.; 3. Lotte Van Drunen (NED, KAW), 230 p.; 4. Lynn Valk (NED, FAN), 211 p.; 5. Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), 166 p.; 6 Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, GAS), 157 p.; 7. p. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, YAM), 145 p.; 8. Britt Jans-Beken (NED, YAM), 130 p.; 9. Charli Cannon (AUS, YAM), 106 p.; 10. Van Der Vlsit (NED, YAM), 98 p.
- Kawasaki – 292
- GasGas – 250
- Yamaha – 217
- Fantic – 211
- KTM – 167
- Husqvarna – 82
- Honda – 34
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|
PHOTOS CREDIT: FULL SPECTRUM MEDIA / MONSTER ENERGY