Motocross

Tough Start To The 2022 FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship For Courtney Duncan

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Courtney Duncan starts her title defence with sixth overall.

A less than ideal build-up has meant for the first time in seven years, triple World Women’s Motocross (WMX) Champion Courtney Duncan has not won a race at the opening round of the FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship.

The Palmerston-born Kiwi had been delayed in New Zealand waiting for her visa to come through, meaning she only arrived in Europe days before her first round of the 2022 season in Italy.

“It was a difficult weekend to say the least. A P3 and P9 for sixth overall is not how you want to start the championship,” a disappointed Duncan said.

She began her 2022 campaign at the MXGP of Lombardia with a roar, grabbing the holeshot in race one and leading for the first laps. Landing slightly wide on a jump gave Dutch rider Lynn Valk enough of a gap to slip past Duncan.

As the race continued on Duncan’s least preferred surface of sand at the Mantova circuit, Nancy Van De Ven, of the Netherlands, managed to pass her for second.

Photo of WMX rider Courtney Duncan
This was the highlight of the day for Courtney Duncan with the defending champion leading into the first corner of moto one.

It would end up being Van De Ven’s round victory as she went on to win race two and claim the red plate. A first corner crash meant Duncan’s second race was effectively doused before it fully began. Although she picked herself up quickly and charged through the pack, ninth was as high as she could get.

“The whole build-up wasn’t great with only arriving in Europe this week and trying to acclimatize. I hadn’t ridden my KX250 race bike and went straight into the sand. All that puts you on the back foot and clearly, it showed this weekend. I just wasn’t myself,” Duncan explained.

If anyone has proved they have what it takes to claw back up to the top, it’s Duncan (25). She put in three long years of hard graft before lifting her first championship trophy in 2019 with Kawasaki’s Bike It Dixon Racing Team (DRT) and she won’t be losing sight of adding a fourth consecutive title after five more WMX rounds in September.

“I need to keep positive. It’s a long season and we’ll build from here,” Duncan vowed.

Kawasaki New Zealand’s Managing Director Shane Verhoeven says: “Issues outside of Courtney’s control took its toll over the two races. With a little more preparation and acclimatisation I’m sure we’ll see the characteristic fight we’re used to. Courtney’s fans have been treated to many of her trademark comebacks over her career and this is a position she excels in. I look forward to the next round in Portugal.”

Duncan has a month to regroup before the second WMX round in Portugal on April 2.

Courtney Duncan has Vowed to come back stronger in round two.

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