Courtney Duncan Wins World Women’s Motocross Championship Opening Round at Qatar

Courtney Duncan Wins World Women’s Motocross Championship Opening Round at Qatar


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Courtney Duncan’s win at the World Women’s Motocross Championship in Qatar was nothing short of sensational.

Photo Credit: MXGP

Photo Credit: MXGP

Going 1-1 against the best Women Motocross riders in the World, Duncan outshone her peers totally dominating both motos with winning margins of 26 seconds in Race 1 and 28 seconds in Race 2.

Given the fact that Duncan had travelled from NZ, had less than an hour bike time to set-up, test and run in the new YZ250F, along with adjust rapidly to the tight MXGP Race and Rider Schedule, Courtney never faltered in determination, want and fight to win come racing.

A remarkable challenge for most seasoned Pro MX riders racing well outside their comfort zone, if anything CD # 151 enjoyed the challenge, setting her sights on clearing out in front and achieving double moto victories at Qatar.

Having known Courtney and family for a few years, going back to CD’s 6th in FIM Junior World Motocross Championships 85cc in 2009, then her win at USA Ponca City Grand National MX Championships in 2011, and the triumphant win in USA Triple Crown AMA Women’s Pro Out-Doors at Hangtown 125cc in 2013, this win was timely, due and soooo deserved.

Photo Credit: MXGP

Photo Credit: MXGP

With WMX Round 2 at Valkenswaard in 3 weeks, I caught up with Courtney with a few Q and A:

SC: Winning the Opening Round of Women’s World Motocross Championship in Qatar, Courtney how do you feel with your performance against the best Women MX riders in the World?

CD: I think it was solid, nothing special but I’m happy with it. I got my first race out of the way and we have something to build off. I definitely didn’t ride like I did at Woodville GP in NZ but there’s always a lot to learn and things to deal with when racing overseas. I’m really excited about the opportunity to race the following Rounds.

SC: The trip from NZ, having only you and Carey to set-up a new bike, test, manage event schedule, plus maintain focus on racing, were you overwhelmed with what you had to do or did you feel quite in your comfort zone for racing?

CD: I mean there was a lot stacked up against me but it’s the same boat for everyone else heading overseas to compete at World level for the first time. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for them either. You really don’t know what to expect, but I don’t believe I was out of my comfort zone. This is what I live for.
My bike set-up was similar to my set-up here in NZ only obviously this one was fresh and hadn’t been run in. I enjoyed the challenge and look forward to more.

Photo Credit: Sharon Cox

Photo Credit: Sharon Cox

SC: The competition was on it with the Women’s field as competitive as expected. Were you confident that your lap times, racecraft and consistency on the track was enough to win?

CD: The women are good, definitely the fastest women I have ever raced. They’re aggressive and everything else that comes with that. They actually put in a better time than me in Qualifying but I tried not to worry about that and just focus on myself and my own riding.
I know racing is completely different.

SC: How did you find the track, layout, watering, ripping, jumps and night racing?

CD: It was cool. Obviously night racing was completely new but in saying that the lights were amazing and the vision of the track looked just like daylight. The layout was cool too. It wasn’t that fast and had heaps of jumps. Also, the races cut up nice and rough which was good.

SC: The pass on Livia Lancelot (Kawasaki) was timed. How have you perfected when to make a pass, how to keep consistent lap times, line choice, throttle control down to pretty much perfection as seen in WMX Round 1 at Qatar?

CD: I followed Livia for a few laps, the track was watered quite heavily before our first moto so I didn’t want to push it too much. I waited and she made a bit of a mistake and I got by. Then I just set about riding my own race and putting in solid laps.

Photo Credit: MXGP

Photo Credit: MXGP

SC: The winning margins for both motos were huge. 27 seconds in Race 1 and 28 seconds in Race 2. This is extremely impressive winning with total domination. You made the front by lap 4 in Race 1 and lap 1 in Race 2. Out front was it totally your own race?
WMX – Race 2 – Classification
Pos   Nr     Rider                           Nat.     Fed.      Bike            Time              Best Lap
1       151     Duncan, Courtney    NZL    MNZ     Yamaha      25:46.879    1:58.647
2       114     Lancelot, Livia          FRA    FFM     Kawasaki    26:14.916     2:00.403

CD: In the first race it wasn’t the best of starts so I had to work my way up. However in the second moto I was in the lead by the 2nd corner so I just raced my own race, tried to be solid and not make mistakes. We managed to do that and win by a gap which felt good.

Given the fact that you had less than an hour to set-up, test and run in a new bike that you had never ridden before, at a World Motocross Championship on the other side of the World from NZ, with only yourself and Carey to make it happen, coming away with WMX Overall is a remarkable achievement.

SC: Holding the Red Plate heading into Round 2 at Valkenswaard, Belguim in 3 weeks, what will be your focus from now until racing and what are you looking forward to when gates drop for the second time in WMX 2016?

CD: It felt good to know we were able to come away with the win given the fact that we had many things to deal with which I don’t usually have to. It was a tough week heading into the Opening Round.
Having Carey there to help me was huge. I wouldn’t have been able to do it alone. And also having Josh and Bjorn organize my bike so it was as close as we could get to my NZ bike was awesome as well.

The focus now is working on the sand. Josh will be helping me be as ready as I can be to tackle Round 2 in a few weeks’ time. It will be a good challenge. I’m really looking forward to it and am thankful for the opportunity.

WMX Round 2: Valkenswaard March 27th, 28th 2016

My thanks to Courtney for her time.

Words: Sharon Cox


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