Courtney Duncan has admitted to limiting damage in Arnhem, Netherlands, during the penultimate round of the 2023 WMX World Championship last weekend.
Despite the challenges of the sandy track, Duncan strategically navigated the weekend in conditions that are not her bread and butter.
The warmup and qualifying sessions unfolded favorably, as the focus was primarily on preserving energy for the demanding two motos ahead. Securing a solid 5th place in the qualifying positioned the Three Time World Champion well for a favorable starting position on the gate.
Race 1 saw Duncan making a strong initial leap off the line, but an untimely wheelie hindered her start. Despite a promising first lap and a subsequent climb to second place, a minor error cost her valuable time. Her tenacity enabled her to close in on 2nd place position, but she ultimately secured a respectable 4th place finish.
In the second race, Duncan’s improved start catapulted her to 2nd place. However, challenges with maintaining rhythm gradually pushed her back to 8th place with nine minutes remaining. Displaying the prowess of a three-time World Champion impressively reclaimed lost positions, ultimately clinching a commendable 3rd place finish. This strategic move minimised the points lost and highlighted Duncan’s focused approach to the race.
Reflecting on the weekend’s performance, Duncan remarked, “It was undeniably a demanding weekend, especially considering the sandy terrain. I believe I effectively mitigated the potential setbacks out there. While this environment lies slightly outside my comfort zone, those who’ve grown up racing here naturally excel in it. I’m committed to refining my performance in these conditions for the upcoming year. Though finishing 4th and 3rd narrowly missed the podium, what matters most is the substantial sixteen-point lead I carry into the Turkish leg of the championship. With a personal fondness for racing in Turkey, I’m eager to conclude this chapter on a high note.”
Team Manager Steve Dixon shared his thoughts on the weekend: “Courtney has been back riding over here for a month with our Belgian mechanic George, who’s been brilliant and looked after Courtney well. She’s been training in sand while she’s here. We always knew this would be a difficult round which is why she pushed hard in the other rounds to build up a buffer. Some of these girls live and breathe sand so it was a case of damage limitation. We head to the last round with a 16-point lead over second and a 23-point lead over third. We will focus on Turkey and stick to our normal programme with the goal of bringing home the championship once more. Courtney is a 3x World Champion and it hasn’t been down to luck. We’ll take nothing for granted until the flag is waved – it should all go well but this is motocross after all, anything can happen.
With the forthcoming WMX championship finale in Turkey looming on the horizon, the team is diligently preparing for the showdown, buoyed by Duncan’s 16-point lead.