QUEEN DUNCAN DOUBLES UP
Courtney Duncan (DRT Kawasaki) retained her FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship title this season, although the twenty-four-year-old from New Zealand’s South Island had to fight every step of the way.
Following three years of trying – and three years of falling just short – Duncan finally claimed the crown in 2019 by a comfortable margin from Nancy van de Ven, however in 2020 the Dutch racer took her all the way to the final moto of the season and even then it needed a tie-break to decide the destination of the crown.
Duncan came out swinging at the opening round – the MXGP of Great Britain – at Matterley Basin at the beginning of March and firmly threw down the gauntlet with a double win as van de Ven finished off the podium. A week later at the MXGP of The Netherlands it was Larissa Papenmeier (Yamaha) who won as van de Ven pulled back two points on Duncan in the deep Valkenswaard sand.
After winning the opening race at round three – the MXGP of Lombardia – a disastrous no-score in the second moto dropped Duncan to fourth in the championship as Papenmeier and van de Ven set the pace. Duncan then tied with van de Ven at round four, taking the overall with 2-1 scores, but she trailed her rival by four points heading into the decider.
The MXGP of Trentino on the last day of October provided the perfect setting for the showdown. Duncan won the first race with van de Ven fifth to take a five-point lead into the final moto of the season which van de Ven won, though Duncan’s thrilling third was just good enough for the title.
KIWI COURTNEY’S TURKISH DELIGHT
New Zealand’s Courtney Duncan (Kawasaki) finally claimed the FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship in 2019, after three years of near misses since bursting onto the scene as a race-winning rookie in 2016. Duncan stunned the motocross world when she won both motos on her professional debut in Qatar, but after two further wins, a freak accident ruled her out of two rounds of that season and meant she finished third, despite winning more races than any other rider.
Courtney then missed the title by just two points in 2017, before injuring herself again in 2018 whilst holding a twenty-one point lead with two rounds to go. However, a change of manufacturer heralded a change of fortune in 2019. After taking victory in the opening moto of the season at Valkenswaard, The Netherlands, Duncan slipped to fourth in the second moto and allowed Dutch rider Nancy van der Ven (Yamaha) to claim top spot, but that would prove to be the only moment she would let her guard slip all season.
Consecutive doubles in Portugal, Czech Republic and Italy set up a title shot at the final round in Turkey, where she wasted no time in wrapping things up with a dominant twelve-second victory in the first moto. Duncan signed-off her 2019 assault with a second race win, making it nine from ten for the season, as she followed in the footsteps of fellow Kiwi Katherine Oberlin-Brown (nee Prumm), who won the Women’s World Cup in 2006 and 2007, before the class was elevated to FIM World Motocross Championship status in 2008.