The second round of the FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship delivered some interesting races that saw Shana Van Der Vlist come out on top to take her first ever WMX overall victory and take over the championship lead
It was a character building day in the deep sands of Lommel in Belgium for Bike it MTX Kawasaki rider Courtney Duncan who missed out on a podium position and lost the championship podium after struggling in the trying conditions.
As the gate dropped for the first WMX race, it was Van Der Vlist with a flying start with Larissa Papenmeier and Kiara Fontanesi right there as well. Meanwhile, Duncan started further down the order in eighth place.
Papenmeier then dropped a few positions as Fontanesi remained in third with Lynn Valk going through into second. While Britt Jans-Beken was having a strong ride in fourth.
We saw our first lot of drama in the race as Duncan was looking to dive down the inside of Sara Andersen, but the pair touched, and both crashed as a result.
Meanwhile, Nancy Van De Ven was making her way up the order as she looked for a way around Amandine Verstappen who was in fifth.
As the gap between Van Der Vlist and Valk remained at 3.028 seconds, Jans-Beken was pushing for a way around Fontanesi for third, while Duncan made her way into 9th place as Andersen broke into the top 20 after the crash with the Kawasaki rider and a brief stop in pitlane.
But all eyes were at the front of the field as Valk took the lead from Van Der Vlist on lap six. The pair then kept things close until the end of the race.
Jans-Beken briefly managed to get Fontanesi for third, though by the end of the race she dropped to fifth as Fontanesi and Van De Ven found a way through. In the end it was Valk who secured her first ever win ahead of Van Der Vlist.
In the second race it was Duncan who led Papenmeier as Van De Ven took second from the German, with Verstappen right there too.
Fontanesi started the race further down the field in eighth place but was moving quickly on the opening lap as she was second by lap two. The Italian then set the fastest lap of the race as it was clear she was hungry for the win.
Van Der Vlist had to work harder in the second race as she made her way into the top five, as Duncan defended the lead from Fontanesi, with the GasGas rider making several attempts to pass the Kiwi and by lap four she was the new race leader.
Van De Ven then made a mistake which allowed Van Der Vlist through, who then put on strong charge for the lead and was the new race leader on lap seven.
Duncan then got herself into third after a nice battle with Van De Ven which went on for several laps as Van Der Vlist edged out by 6.846 seconds.
In the end, it was Van Der Vlist who enjoyed her first WMX race victory as Fontanesi, and Duncan finished second and third. With a 2-1 result, Shana Van Der Vlist was the overall round winner, with Kiara Fontanesi making her first podium appearance of the season in second and Lynn Valk also making her first ever podium appearance as she took to the third step of the podium.
“I still can’t believe it actually,” Shana Van Der Vlist said of her win. “I really enjoyed riding in the sand today. The track was really heavy and tough, but I had two good races. I could take the win, so it is unbelievable. In the first race I had a battle with Lynn. Actually all race. First, I was in the lead and then she passed me, I stayed behind her all race and I could not make a pass for the lead, so I was happy with second place. In the second race, I had a really bad start. In the first lap I was around twelfth place. I just had a good flow and good speed. I was just passing all the girls for the win and I am really happy. I just try to enjoy the ride and don’t put too much pressure on myself”.
After an unlucky first race, Duncan drops to second in the championship as Van Der Vlist leads with just a two-point advantage as Valk moves to third.
“It wasn’t easy out there but I think I can be proud of what we achieved today,” Courtney Duncan said at the end of the day. “Coming in we knew it was going to be tough; it was one of those days where we had to salvage as much as we could and you win championships on those days.
“I’m proud of the effort, particularly the way I was able to hang tough with the other girls at the front in race two,” Duncan added. “First moto I got a good jump off the start but I shut off too early into the corner; a small crash on lap two made the race tough for me but I still pushed to the end, salvaged what I could, and got some important points. Another holeshot made the second race easier but I didn’t quite have it to win the race. Now we go home, regroup and come out swinging for Turkey. It’s one of my favourite tracks on the calendar so I’m confident headed there. It’s important we nail the training leading up to each event, continue to look for ways to be even better and give our best effort. “
The WMX action heads to Turkey for a special double-header race on the 4th and 5th of September, followed by a mid-week race on the 7th and 8th of September.
WMX – Race 1 – Top 10 Classification:
1 Lynn Valk (NED, Husqvarna), 26:34.230
2 Shana van der Vlist (NED, KTM), +0:01.430
3 Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, GASGAS), +0:21.818
4 Nancy Van De Ven (NED, Yamaha), +0:31.414
5 Britt Jans-Beken (NED, KTM), +0:39.261
6 Courtney Duncan (NZL, Kawasaki), +0:54.047
7 Daniela Guillen (ESP, KTM), +0:59.392
8 Amandine Verstappen (BEL, Kawasaki), +1:00.463
9 Anne Borchers (GER, Suzuki), +1:24.980
10 Larissa Papenmeier (GER, Yamaha), +1:31.160
WMX – Race 2 – Top 10 Classification:
1 Shana van der Vlist (NED, KTM), 27:22.139
2 Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, GASGAS), +0:06.803
3 Courtney Duncan (NZL, Kawasaki), +0:07.330
4 Nancy Van De Ven (NED, Yamaha), +0:36.026
5 Britt Jans-Beken (NED, KTM), +0:56.810
6 Lynn Valk (NED, Husqvarna), +1:07.029
7 Larissa Papenmeier (GER, Yamaha), +1:07.551
8 Daniela Guillen (ESP, KTM), +1:21.392
9 Amandine Verstappen (BEL, Kawasaki), +1:34.710
10 Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), +1:45.572
WMX – Overall Top 10 Classification:
1 Shana van der Vlist (NED, KTM), 47 Points
2 Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, GAS), 42 Points
3 Lynn Valk (NED, HUS), 40 Points
4 Nancy Van De Ven (NED, YAM), 36 Points
5 Courtney Duncan (NZL, KAW), 35 Points
6 Britt Jans-Beken (NED, KTM), 32 Points
7 Daniela Guillen (ESP, KTM), 27 Points
8 Larissa Papenmeier (GER, YAM), 25 Points
9 Amandine Verstappen (BEL, KAW), 25 Points
10 Anne Borchers (GER, SUZ), 22 Points
WMX – Championship Top 10 Classification:
1 Shana van der Vlist (NED, KTM), 87 Points
2 Courtney Duncan (NZL, KAW), 85 Points
3 Lynn Valk (NED, HUS), 72 Points
4 Nancy Van De Ven (NED, YAM), 72 Points
5 Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, GAS), 70 Points
6 Larissa Papenmeier (GER, YAM), 61 Points
7 Amandine Verstappen (BEL, KAW), 58 Points
8 Daniela Guillen (ESP, KTM), 50 Points
9 Britt Jans-Beken (NED, KTM), 47 Points
10 Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), 44 Points