Duncan seals the deal for a second consecutive WMX World title

New Zealander, Courtney Duncan of DRT Kawasaki has made history once again, as she claimed her second world title in the FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship at the final round in Pietramurata, Italy.

The WMX championship came down to the final race today, as four riders were all in contention of grabbing the title. With just 10 points separating Nancy Van de Ven of Ghidinelli Racing, who led the championship coming into the round of Trentino, Duncan, MXFonta Syneco’s Kiara Fontanesi and Larissa Papenmeier of Yamaha Racing 423, the action today was next level, as each one of the riders gave it their all for the chance to take home the gold plate.

And there was plenty of drama in the races, starting with the opening heat which saw Duncan, Van De Ven and Fontanesi go down in the start, while Papenmeier grabbed the holeshot and led the way comfortably.

Duncan though was not looking to waste any time, as she pushed hard throughout the race, making some very quick passes, which saw her move into the top three on the fourth lap of the race. Meanwhile, Van De Ven and Fontanesi were also making good progress and were pushing inside the top 10.

The top 4 ladies didn’t let off, as they each pushed for vital championship points, though the closing stages of the race saw more drama and this time it was for the race leader, Papenmeier, who had a nice 10 second gap to Duncan in second, but a small mistake which resulted in a crash, in the corner before the finish jump, allowed the Kiwi to close in on Papenmeier and eventually pass her for the win. Papenmeier held on to second, with JK Racing Yamaha’s Lynn Valk having a fantastic ride to finish third ahead of Shana Van der Vlist and Van de Ven having to settle for fifth.

The second race was the last opportunity for Duncan, Van De Ven, Papenmeier and Fontanesi to do something about the outcome of this championship. And for Van De Ven it was a complete turnaround of the opening heat, as she took the holeshot and led every lap of the race from start to flag. While she led the way, the battle was heating up behind her, as Fontanesi, Van der Vlist, Duncan and Papenmeier battle it out for top scoring positions.

All eyes were focused on the nice battle between Fontanesi and Duncan which carried on for 6 laps, before the Italian was eventually able to find her way through on the DRT Kawasaki rider. The pair then pushed their way onto the back of the race leader, though Van De Ven was able to handle the pressure and take the race win, but it was not enough for her to secure the title this time around. Fontanesi crossed the line to finish the race second, while Duncan was third.

By the end of the race, both Van De Ven and Duncan were tied on 207 points, with the championship being decided on race wins and it was those 5 race wins, in Matterley Basin, Mantova and Trentino today, which helped Duncan secure the gold plate for the second year in a row. Van De Ven was forced to settle for a silver medal this season, as she finished the year with her second race win and a fourth podium finish. While Papenmeier secured bronze with two overall victories in Valkenswaard and Mantova and four podiums this season.

The podium today was exactly the same as the championship standings, with Duncan celebrating her title on the top step of the podium, with Van De Ven second and Papenmeier finishing third on the box.  

Courtney Duncan: “Coming into the final round we knew it was going to be close. All the girls are riding really well, and the points were separated by ten. We were probably all put under the pump this weekend and thankfully I got that race win in the first race, because Nancy and Kiara were on it in that second one and set a really good pace. I’m so grateful, I’ve had a lot of tough times to come through and to get this championship, it feels really good. A huge thanks to the team, everyone back home that’s supports me and all the girls for a really good challenging year. It’s good for the fans who are not here and watching on TV and when a championship is close, I think everyone enjoys it. We will enjoy this one!”

Nancy Van De Ven: “The crash in the first race and mistakes in the beginning of the year made it really hard for me and what can I say, what’s worse than getting second in the championship with the same points”.

Larissa Papenmeier: “It was really close, anyone of us four could be world champion, so you had to fight until the last minute. I had a good first heat, unfortunately I tipped over, but it was my own mistake and I finished second. Nothing was lost by then, but my second heat wasn’t that good. The others were better, Courtney for sure deserved it, I think if she stays on the bike, she’s fastest on the track so she deserved it for sure. Congratulations to her. Being third overall in the world championship is not bad, for sure I’m fighting for first but I’m not giving up yet.

WMX - Race 1 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Courtney Duncan (NZL, Kawasaki), 25:42.933; 2. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, Yamaha), +0:02.040; 3. Lynn Valk (NED, Yamaha), +0:20.444; 4. Shana van der Vlist (NED, KTM), +0:31.301; 5. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, Yamaha), +0:34.235; 6. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, KTM), +1:04.764; 7. Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), +1:17.156; 8. Jamie Astudillo (USA, KTM), +1:34.392; 9. Sandra Keller (SUI, KTM), +1:36.965; 10. Francesca Nocera (ITA, Yamaha), +1:39.420.

WMX - Race 2 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, Yamaha), 25:49.193; 2. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, KTM), +0:01.717; 3. Courtney Duncan (NZL, Kawasaki), +0:07.334; 4. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, Yamaha), +0:19.615; 5. Lynn Valk (NED, Yamaha), +0:29.625; 6. Shana van der Vlist (NED, KTM), +0:43.146; 7. Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), +1:02.697; 8. Jamie Astudillo (USA, KTM), +1:28.194; 9. Francesca Nocera (ITA, Yamaha), +1:30.185; 10. Malou Jakobsen (DEN, KTM), +1:45.525.

WMX - Overall Top 10 Classification: 1. Courtney Duncan (NZL, KAW), 45 points; 2. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, YAM), 41 p.; 3. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, YAM), 40 p.; 4. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, KTM), 37 p.; 5. Lynn Valk (NED, YAM), 36 p.; 6. Shana van der Vlist (NED, KTM), 33 p.; 7. Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), 28 p.; 8. Jamie Astudillo (USA, KTM), 26 p.; 9. Francesca Nocera (ITA, YAM), 23 p.; 10. Sandra Keller (SUI, KTM), 21 p.

WMX - Championship Top 10 Classification: 1. Courtney Duncan (NZL, KAW), 207 points; 2. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, YAM), 207 p.; 3. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, YAM), 200 p.; 4. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, KTM), 193 p.; 5. Lynn Valk (NED, YAM), 164 p.; 6. Shana van der Vlist (NED, KTM), 135 p.; 7. Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), 121 p.; 8. Line Dam (DEN, YAM), 114 p.; 9. Anne Borchers (GER, SUZ), 94 p.; 10. Tahlia Jade O'Hare (AUS, KTM), 91 p.

WMX - Manufacturers Classification: 1. Yamaha, 230 points; 2. Kawasaki, 207 p.; 3. KTM, 200 p.; 4. Suzuki, 99 p.; 5. Husqvarna, 29 p.; 6. Honda, 21 p.

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