Women Motocross World Championship Rounds 1 and 2- what was learnt?

Women Motocross World Championship Rounds 1 and 2- what was learnt?

Women Motocross World Championship Rounds 1 and 2 completed with action, results and changes to podium standings far from predictable given racing was mere 7 days apart. From defending Champion Courtney Duncan winning MXGP Czech Republic with 2 moto wins, to 2nd Overall in points- Shana Van der Vlist gutsy performance to take the Overall at Lommel and Red Plate, 2021 WMX has all the makings of anything is possible on track this year.

WMX Round 2 podium Shana Van der Vlsit, Kiara Fontanesi and Lynn Valk top 3 Photo Credit: MXGP

Given back-to-back Rounds were always going to test the riders ability to switch from racing hard pack to the deep sands of Lommel in matter of 7 days, it was the turn around of results which proved the deal breaker in Championship standings.

The dominant performance of Duncan at Loket going 1-1 was disturbed by the challenging sands of Lommel which lent the Kiwi on the back foot from Qualifying through to Race 1 and 2. Equally, the qualifying pole position by Nancy van de Ven was challenged by the hungry couple of talented riders- Lynn Valk and Shana Van Der Vlist with Valk taking Race 1 win.

If mental aptitude provides top 10% needed to out-race full-grid of riders, Valk and Van Der Vlist delivered fine performances, undeterred that both their qualifying times were 2 seconds adrift from Nancy’s. The steely resolve from the Dutch pair proved ‘concentrating on own race’ regardless of what other riders are capable of achieving, remains winning combo on track.

For sure, managing mental composure which in turns lends to letting all physical and technical training come to the fore remains hot topic of debate amongst all sports athletes. Role models provide benchmarks to measure how to navigate the highs, lows and in between during race weekends, as in case of analysis of Kiara Fontanesi.

Lynn Valk WMX Round 2 at Lommel Photo Credit: MXGP

With nothing to prove on track, the 6x WMX Champion commitment to achieving best possible results from whichever position paves pathway for younger talented riders of Valk, Van der Vlist, Sara Andersen, and Tahlia O’Hare to draw inspiration that results are there for improvement.

Given Fontanesi finished WMX Round 1 in 7th position Overall, then completed Round 2 standing 2nd step of podium, speaks volumes on how the mind outsmarts previous experience of disappointment, loss, or lack of self-confidence. Not to mention, #8 knew gap in points could be the difference from winning WMX Championship given mere 5 Round Series (now 6 Rounds with double header at Turkey in 4 weeks time).

So, what was learnt after WMX Rounds 1 and 2? Expectation that seasoned WMX riders will automatically take top honours on the dias has proved beatable with stellar performances by Shana Van Der Vlsit and Lynn Valk stealing the show at Lommel. Qualifying times have also proved not the be-all-benchmark that pole position for first gate-pick will guarantee hole-shot to create gap out front all the way to the chequered.

Yes, switch from hard-pack to sand back to hard pack tracks could sway results back to riders racing within comfort zone, yet the domineering performances of WMX top 4 has been cracked open by those riders keen to take valuable points at each and every race. Given the ability of podium contenders to mix up positions on track, along with double header Rounds 3 and 4 at same venue in Turkey, expectations on who holds upper hand come gate drop will depend on each rider’s ability to navigate mind over matter during racing.

Words: Sharon Cox.

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