A A less than ideal build-up means that for the first time in seven years, three-time Women’s Motocross (WMX) World Champion Courtney Duncan won no races in the opening round of the FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship .
The Palmerston-born Kiwi had been delayed in New Zealand pending her visa, meaning she only arrived in Europe days before her first tour of the 2022 season in Italy.
“It was a difficult weekend, to say the least. A P3 and a P9 for sixth place overall is not the way you want to start the championship,” said a disappointed Duncan.
She started her 2022 campaign at the MXGP of Lombardy with a roar, grabbing the holeshot in race one and leading for the opening laps. Landing slightly wide on a jump gave the Dutch runner Lynn Valk enough gap to pass Duncan.
As the race continued on Duncan’s least favorite sand surface at the Mantua Circuit, Nancy Van De Venfrom the Netherlands, managed to overtake her for second place.
It would end up being Van De Ven’s victory as she won the second race and claimed the red plate. A crash at the first corner meant Duncan’s second race was effectively watered down before it fully started. Although she got up quickly and charged through the pack, ninth was the highest she could get.
“Not all of the preparation has been great with arriving in Europe only this week and trying to acclimatise. I hadn’t ridden my KX250 race bike and went straight into the sand. defensively and clearly, it showed this weekend. I just wasn’t myself,” Duncan explained.
If anyone has proven they have what it takes to get back to the top, it’s Duncan (25). It took three long years of hard work to win her first championship trophy in 2019 with Kawasaki’s Bike It Dixon Racing (DRT) team and she won’t lose sight of adding a fourth consecutive title after five other WMX rounds in September.
“I have to stay positive. It’s a long season and we’ll build from here,” Duncan promised.
Managing Director of Kawasaki New Zealand Shane Verhoeven said, “Issues beyond Courtney’s control took their toll during both races. With a little more preparation and acclimatization, I’m sure we’ll see the signature combat we’re used to. Courtney’s fans have been treated to many of her trademark comebacks over the course of her career and it’s a position she excels at. I look forward to the next round in Portugal.
Duncan has a month to regroup before the second round of WMX in Portugal on April 2.