Women’s Motocross World Championship 2021- Courtney Duncan

Women’s Motocross World Championship 2021- Courtney Duncan

FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship 2021 will be another Title up for grabs for defending Champion Courtney Duncan. Having gained first ever WMX Championship victory in 2019, followed by consecutive success taking the Title in 2020, Kiwi phenomenon CD will be set to add another WMX Trophy come Opening Round on July 25th.

Courtney Duncan taking the win and Championship at MXGP of Trentino 2020

Making debut WMX appearance in 2016 at MXGP of Qatar, Courtney squared herself against the best Women MX riders in the world taking the Overall GP win going 1-1. The victory was sensational, not just in terms of winning first GP race of her career, but also in regard to distance of proximity for training- growing up in New Zealand, a million miles away from World MX scene in Europe.

Importantly, Courtney had watched with eagle eyes the goals set and achieved by NZ’s Katherine Prumm (now Oberlin-Brown) winning Women’s MX World Cup in 2006 and 2007. Katherine’s success was pre-cursor on how good-ole Kiwi tenacity can make anything possible if you work hard enough.

Putting in laps on CD’s track at home, to racing every possible Championship- including FIM Junior World MX Championship, 85cc class, finishing 3rd- paved pathway to gain race experience overseas. It was stay at Millsaps Training Facility in America that forged steely determination to be the best on the track. And, by 2011 heads definitely turned, when Courtney raced to victory in AMA Triple Crown Women’s Pro-Outdoors at Hangtown.

Courtney Duncan WMX Round 1 at MXGP of Indonesia 2017.

Courtney’s win on her YZ 125cc, the only 2-stroke in the field, changed perception on what Women can showcase on the track. At that time, Davey Coombs, RacerX reached out to MXLink and asked ‘who is this girl from down-under? How can we get a hold of her for an interview?’ Her race win changed the perception that Women racing MX was boring, the girls were slow, and WMX should be relegated outside Championships of Premier MX1 and MX2 classes.

CD’s debut race at Qatar in 2016 goaded change again- not just against racing order within WMX but also with Media reports. At post-race press conference GP Media personal stumbled to find exact words on how to ask Courtney, ‘what did it take, growing up in NZ, knowing that you wanted to one day become Women MX World Champion?’

Facts taken on board by Courtney defy odds- how to measure race performance against the world’s best Women riders when training, living, and riding in NZ? Sure, racing against the guys, at National Championship level provided proof that CD’s lap times and results were on a par with World MX standards, however, racing on other side of the world, outside comfort zone, with no family around makes for very different scenario to gain top results.

Courtney Duncan taking the win at WMX Round 3 MXGP of Czech Republic 2019.

No pressure then heading into consecutive WMX seasons- 2017, 2018- where Courtney was plagued with crashes, injuries, meaning loss of vital points for all important WMX Overall win. What did matter, was keeping eyes on the prize, remaining humble in defeat, while being ready when given the all clear to get back on the bike.

For certain, achieving 9 WMX race wins from 10 was no mere lucky break in 2019 season. Courtney showed pure dominance on the track- taking Round victories in Portugal, Loket, Imola and Overall Championship in Turkey. 2020 was consolidation of performance, doubling record of WMX Titles to 2.

Taken in broader perspective, CD has shaken the shackles of expectation of women racing Motorsport at World Championship level. No longer do fans leave track-side fence barriers when WMX lines-up on the gate, no longer do Media personal make comments ‘WMX- there is not much to watch’, and no longer does the future of WMX remain stuck in time-warp- as women racing bikes at speed provide exposure of the sport for all the world to see.

Words: Sharon Cox.

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