Kiwi girl Courtney Duncan wins Womens World MX season opener in Qatar
A lovely summer night race made for a memorable opener to the 2016 FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship for WMX rookie, fresh out of New Zealand, Courtney Duncan who stole the show out on the impressive man made circuit of Losail, Qatar to win the round with a massive double race victory.
The opening race of the season is always gnarly and this time it was no different. When the gates dropped, the defending world champion MXFontaRacing Syneco Honda’s Kiara Fontanesi pulled across on the vice world champion Team One One Four’s Livia Lancelot which forced them both to lose a fraction of a second and hand the young Dutch speedster Nancy Van De Ven the holeshot.
Just as she did last year, Van De Ven led the opening lap ahead of Lancelot, Fontanesi and WMX’s newest rookie sensation Courtney Duncan. On the opening lap none of the girls were prepared to give an inch as Lancelot forced a pass up the inside of Van De Ven to take the lead. A few corners later, the rookie from New Zealand, Duncan, carried more momentum into the waves and took second.
As the Kiwi started breaking down the walls of Lancelot, Fontanesi over shot a 180 degree turn and crashed which left Van De Ven with a bit of breathing room in third.
Meanwhile last years WMX round of Qatar dominator, Lancelot, had her work cut out for her as Duncan hounded her like a hungry honey badger. With 10 minutes to go, Duncan seized the opportunity to pass Lancelot, took the lead and didn’t look back.
At the checkers, it was Duncan who had stretched out a lead of 27 seconds to win the opening race of the year. Meanwhile Lancelot kept a cool head for second while Van De Ven had a comfortable gap in third over Larissa Papenmeier and KTM Silver Actions’ Amandine Verstappen.
When the gates dropped for WMX Race 2 it was Nancy Van de Ven who took yet another holeshot. Race one winner Courtney Duncan was around third place heading into the first turn but wasted no time in pushing past Livia Lancelot, who was in second and Van de Ven to take the lead.
Van de Ven, who was the winner of the final WMX round last year in the Czech Republic, was running a hot pace but couldn’t match that of Lancelot. Although Lancelot made light work of the Dutch lady, it was a little more difficult for the defending champion, Kiara Fontanesi who took more than half of the race to break the youngster down.
Meanwhile New Zealand’s Duncan, who is under the guidance of FIM Motocross World Championship legend Josh Coppins, was in a league of her own as she cruised her way to a double race victory. Lancelot came home in a lonely second while Fontanesi did the same in third. Van De Ven and Larissa Papenmeier rounded out the top five.
With the first two races of the season in the bag, New Zealand’s Courtney Duncan dominated for a perfect score on her WMX racing debut. Last year’s runner up, riding for her own team Team One One Four Kawasaki, Livia Lancelot finished a convincing second place while Nancy Van De Ven rounded off the podium.
WMX Race 1 Top Ten: 1. Courtney Duncan (NZL, Yamaha), 25:39.039; 2. Livia Lancelot (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:27.377; 3. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, Yamaha), +0:41.292; 4. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, Suzuki), +0:49.822; 5. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, KTM), +1:14.578; 6. Natalie Kane (IRL, KTM), +1:22.373; 7. Genette Vaage (NOR, KTM), +1:24.655; 8. Britt Van Der Werff (NED, Suzuki), +1:36.855; 9. Justine Charroux (FRA, Yamaha), +2:06.537; 10. Virginie Germond (SUI, Suzuki), +2:07.762.
WMX Race 2 Top Ten: 1. Courtney Duncan (NZL, Yamaha), 25:46.879; 2. Livia Lancelot (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:28.037; 3. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, Honda), +0:48.139; 4. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, Yamaha), +1:00.122; 5. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, Suzuki), +1:37.023; 6. Natalie Kane (IRL, KTM), +1:54.701; 7. Britt Van Der Werff (NED, Suzuki), +1:58.400; 8. Justine Charroux (FRA, Yamaha), +2:04.932; 9. Anne Borchers (GER, Suzuki), +2:07.702; 10. Stacey Fisher (GBR, KTM), -1 lap(s).
WMX Overall: 1. Courtney Duncan (NZL, YAM), 50 points; 2. Livia Lancelot (FRA, KAW), 44 p.; 3. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, YAM), 38 p.; 4. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, SUZ), 34 p.; 5. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, HON), 30 p.; 6. Natalie Kane (IRL, KTM), 30 p.; 7. Britt Van Der Werff (NED, SUZ), 27 p.; 8. Justine Charroux (FRA, YAM), 25 p.; 9. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, KTM), 23 p.; 10. Anne Borchers (GER, SUZ), 21 p.
WMX Manufacturer: 1. Yamaha, 50 points; 2. Kawasaki, 44 p.; 3. Suzuki, 34 p.; 4. KTM, 31 p.; 5. Honda, 30 p.; 6. Husqvarna, 6 p.