Nancy Van de Ven wins WMX Opening Round at Mantova- great racing and some surprises!

Nancy Van de Ven wins WMX Opening Round at Mantova- great racing and some surprises!

Nancy Van de Ven won 2022 Women Motocross World Championship Opening Round at MXGP of Lombardia with stellar 2-1 result setting blueprint on what the Dutch rider aims to achieve in the 6 Round Series. Qualifying pole on Saturday, Nancy kept cool, calm and collected finishing 2nd in Race 1 after fellow Dutch rider Lynn Valk, followed by finely executed Race 2 victory to stand top of podium.

Nancy Van de Ven 2022 WMX Round One Race 1 Image: MXGP

Elated with first WMX GP Round win since 2018, Nancy sent strong message to all watching that she is out to enjoy herself on the track, release the pressure to win, and let her performance do all the talking- particularly from her sharp out of the gate jumps.

Most importantly, Nancy knows she has all that is needed to win- having endured numerous injuries only to recover and race, having finished WMX Vice Champion in 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018 and 2016, along with 6 GP Round wins.

Equal on points and standing 2nd Overall, Lynn Valk hit her stride early going 1-2 confirming the JK Racing Yamaha rider has put in the hard yards in pre-season training. Setting fastest lap time of 2.03.892 in Race 1, Valk is force to be reckoned with against the best Women Motocross riders in the world.

Standing ovation goes to Livia Lancelot’s Team Honda 114 Motorsport rider Martine Hughes who nabbed 3rd Overall in debut entry in WMX Round One. Displaying confidence, maturity and speed on track, Hughes delivered fine performance going 5-3 with the Norwegian rider posting her fastest lap time of 2.06.976 in Race 2.

Lynn Valk wins 2022 WMX Race 1 Image: MXGP

Surprises abound for defending 2021 WMX Champion Courtney Duncan. Qualifying 4th, Duncan was under the pump from Lynn Valk followed by Van de Ven in Race 1 which was then repeated with mis-hap at start of Race 2, followed by picking up places to finish WMX Round One 6th Overall.

With only 6 Rounds, Duncan will sure be reflecting on how circumstances played out at Mantova, not least figuring out how speed was missing factor with Duncan’s fastest lap time 5 seconds short of Van de Ven’s in Race 2.

What comes to mind are three-fold. Previous pre-season WMX build-up has always been at home in NZ, with Courtney able to train in Kiwi’s good-ole-summer mixed with racing Nationals against the guys. Not this time. Not only was the turn around from 2021 WMX Final Round on 24th October made more complicated for Courtney to gain MIQ spot to return home, but also NZ cancelled Motocross Nationals which normally run February through to March.

2022 WMX Race One start Image: MXGP

Add on limited adjustment for body-clock when CD arrived in UK same week of WMX Round One, and the reliable strong-hold of mental stamina remained out of synch against the top riders in WMX Round One.

There is no denying Courtney’s presence from debut entry in the Championship in 2016 through to winning WMX Titles in 2019, 2020 and 2021 has raised the game for all women riders competing in WMX. CD’s race strategy of making every point count, making no mistakes and pushing the speed limit within margins of safety has pushed competitive spirit to win amongst seasoned riders and rookies as well.

Results confirmed the bait has taken hold with Nancy taking the season’s Opening Round win, Valk edging out any doubts that she has eyes on prize, along with Martine’s debut performance which reminds all of what Courtney achieved way back in 206 WMX Opening Round at Qatar. With 5 Rounds to go- game is on to seal 2022 WMX Championship Title.

WMX Round 2 MXGP of Portugal, April 3. Header photo 2022 WMX Round One podium image: @huubmunstersfotografie

Words: Sharon Cox.

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