World Women’s Motocross: Closing the Gender Gap?

World Women’s Motocross: Closing the Gender Gap?

2016 Women’s World Motocross Championship has seen remarkable racing over the past 5 of 7 Rounds- 4 Women winning a WMX Round each with Dutch star Nancy Van De Ven taking 2 WMX Rounds.

Nancy Van De Ven Photo Credit: MXGP

Nancy Van De Ven Photo Credit: MXGP

Clocking best lap times that would sit mid-field in the comparative Men’s MX2 class, it is obvious Women’s MX racers have stepped up in speed, skill, endurance producing top class racing at World MX Championship level.

Crunching numbers states: WMX Opening Round at Qatar, NZ’s Courtney Duncan clocked best lap time of 1.58 in Race 2 placing her 10 seconds from MX2 winner Jeffrey Herlings same Round- meaning around 21st on the MX2 points table.

Moving forward to Round 5 at Mantova last weekend, Honda’s Kiara Fontanesi continued the uphill climb to make Women’s racing a decent match to watch as the men’s nailing a best lap time of 2.04 in Race 2 from Herlings win at 1.54 best lap.

Given the physical differences of body strength between genders, track changes through-out timing of races, weather, depth of fields and if things go to plan or not on the day- it is a given that Women’s MX has gained traction from the early days of FIM Women’s World Cup 10 years previous.

Kiara Fontanesi Photo Credit: MXGP

Kiara Fontanesi Photo Credit: MXGP

Co-incidence aside, it was NZ’s Katherine Prumm (now Oberlin-Brown) who made her debut appearance on the World MX stage taking 2 World Women’s Titles in 2006 and 2007.

Setting precedent for future Women MX racers to rise to the challenge of competing at GP’s, Katherine changed the face on what Women could achieve on the track clocking lap times breaking the top 20 of MX2. From Prumm’s 2007 World Women’s Title, FIM took note elevating the status of Women’s MX racing to World Women’s MX Championship level.

In the space of 10 years, in a sport historically dominated by men, gender lines have softened to at the very least appreciate Women’s place in the sport.

It is not just Women behind the scenes, track-side and in PR roles forging new ideas for Marketing and Promotion of the sport, it is Women on the track, racing with speed, determination and fight to stand top of the podium as seen this year in WMX.

Words: Sharon Cox


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