The mid-week special round has concluded its first day, with the fourth round of the FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship!
Coming into the second WMX event here in Mantova, defending world champion Courtney Duncan of DRT Kawasaki Racing was more keen than ever on claiming back some vital championship points to put herself in a better fighting position for the final round in Pietramurata for the round of Trentino. And she did just that with a fantastic overall victory, which now puts her four points down on the new championship leader Nancy Van De Ven of Ghidinelli Racing s.s.d.s.r.l.
In the opening WMX race of the day, it was Van De Ven who claimed the holeshot and was closely followed by Kiara Fontanesi, Duncan and Larissa Papenmeier of Yamaha Racing 423.
Papenmeier then moved herself quickly into second, finding a few gaps in the first couple of corners, with Fontanesi and Duncan just behind her.
As Van De Ven began to pull away, Fontanesi found a way to pass Papenmeier for second. The Italian then set the fastest lap of the race as chased Van De Ven for the win. She better her lap time the following time around, to cut the gap to just 1.397 seconds, as just 3 seconds separated the top 4.
Fontanesi then caught on to the rear wheel of Van De Ven, while Duncan was looking to go through on Papenmeier as the battle for the win heated up. Eventually Duncan was able to move up a position on lap 6.
Van De Ven was doing a great job dealing with the pressure as she could not afford to relax with Fontanesi, Duncan and Papenmeier, all within 3 seconds.
By the following lap, Fontanesi was the new race leader as Duncan began to push Van De Ven for second in order to claim as many championship points as possible. This battle for second continued until the chequered flag.
Eventually Kiara Fontanesi crossed the line in first, though was penalised for jumping on a waved yellow flag which ultimately gave Nancy Van De Ven the win, with Courtney Duncan being promoted to second and Kiara Fontanesi dropping to third.
In the second race, Duncan was the rider to lead the field around the first turn, with Van De Ven second, Papenmeier third and Fontanesi fourth. Though Papenmeier wasn’t able to hold on to third for long as he came under fire from Fontanesi on the opening lap.
Papenmeier then crashed out of fourth dropping down to 12th, which is not where the championship leader wanted to be.
Duncan then went on to set the fastest lap of the race, as she extended her lead to 3.920 seconds. Further down the field Papenmeier was making a comeback as she passed Anne Borchers for 11th and then also picked up 10th not long after.
On lap 3 the top 10 was led by Duncan, followed by Van De Ven, Fontanesi, Sara Andersen, Lynn Valk of JK Racing Yamaha, Line Dam, Talia Jade O’Hare of Diga WMX Racing, Papenmeier and Amandine Verstappen of BUD Racing Kawasaki.
Papenmeier then moved into 9th, while Duncan continued to lead with a 4.117 second advantage. Though Fontanesi was on a mission, she set the fastest lap of the race as she looked to close in on Van De Ven in second.
As Fontanesi pushed to pass Van De Ven, a small mistake caused her to crash, though as the top 3 had a big gap to the rest of the ladies, she was able to pick herself up without losing any positions.
Duncan then cruised her way to a race win in the second heat, followed by Van De Ven, Fontanesi, Andersen and Valk. In terms of the podium, it was Duncan who made an epic return to the top step, while Van De Ven occupied second and Fontanesi finishing third.
With one round to go, the championship chase is heating up as Van De Ven leads Duncan by just 4 points, with Papenmeier dropping to third and Fontanesi in fourth.
Courtney Duncan: “It was nice to get the second race win and it was nice to bring the points back. I think overall, I was just so proud of how I was able to re-group and turn things around from Saturday after a pretty nasty crash. Yeah looking forward to the next round so I can continue to fight”.
Nancy Van De Ven: “First of all, I was feeling good here in the last two races because I really enjoy this track. Today I was feeling great actually. The first race was intense as everyone was pushing and changing positions like crazy. And it’s even better to take the red plate home because that’s what we’re working for”.
Kiara Fontanesi: “Important is that I could take a good start, find my rhythm, take the lead and have good speed. The second race went good because I could make another good start, which was our weak point normally and then I was pushing but I had a problem with the bike, I crashed and I couldn’t even find my rhythm again but anyway I finished third which is okay. I’m standing ten points behind Nancy in the championship and I think it’s going to be a great battle in Trentino”
WMX – Race 1 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, Yamaha), 25:28.624; 2. Courtney Duncan (NZL, Kawasaki), +0:01.593; 3. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, KTM), +-1:58.382; 4. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, Yamaha), +0:02.698; 5. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:23.631; 6. Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), +0:25.880; 7. Lynn Valk (NED, Yamaha), +0:35.469; 8. Shana van der Vlist (NED, KTM), +0:43.571; 9. Line Dam (DEN, Yamaha), +0:59.409; 10. Tahlia Jade O’Hare (AUS, KTM), +1:16.433.
WMX – Race 2 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Courtney Duncan (NZL, Kawasaki), 25:40.460; 2. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, Yamaha), +0:19.231; 3. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, KTM), +0:37.942; 4. Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), +0:42.282; 5. Lynn Valk (NED, Yamaha), +0:44.658; 6. Line Dam (DEN, Yamaha), +0:50.077; 7. Shana van der Vlist (NED, KTM), +0:51.165; 8. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, Yamaha), +0:57.334; 9. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, Kawasaki), +1:06.966; 10. Jamie Astudillo (USA, KTM), +1:30.616.
WMX – Overall Top 10 Classification: 1. Courtney Duncan (NZL, KAW), 47 points; 2. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, YAM), 47 p.; 3. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, KTM), 40 p.; 4. Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), 33 p.; 5. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, YAM), 31 p.; 6. Lynn Valk (NED, YAM), 30 p.; 7. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, KAW), 28 p.; 8. Line Dam (DEN, YAM), 27 p.; 9. Shana van der Vlist (NED, KTM), 27 p.; 10. Jamie Astudillo (USA, KTM), 21 p.
WMX – Championship Top 10 Classification: 1. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, YAM), 166 points; 2. Courtney Duncan (NZL, KAW), 162 p.; 3. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, YAM), 160 p.; 4. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, KTM), 156 p.; 5. Lynn Valk (NED, YAM), 128 p.; 6. Line Dam (DEN, YAM), 114 p.; 7. Shana van der Vlist (NED, KTM), 102 p.; 8. Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), 93 p.; 9. Anne Borchers (GER, SUZ), 77 p.; 10. Tahlia Jade O’Hare (AUS, KTM), 75 p.
WMX – Manufacturers Classification: 1. Yamaha, 183 points; 2. Kawasaki, 162 p.; 3. KTM, 160 p.; 4. Suzuki, 82 p.; 5. Husqvarna, 24 p.; 6. Honda, 12 p.
Bottom Photos: 1. Nancy Van De Ven; 2. Kiara Fontanesi