Bike It MTX Kawasaki’s Courtney Duncan regained the series points lead in the FIM World WMX Women’s Motocross Championship after a dramatic last-corner pass to win the Turkish GP at Afyonkarahisar.

The New Zealander was already in determined mood during the morning timed practice session to earn second choice of gate and, sweeping out of the first turn second in the first twenty-five minute moto, she immediately put down the hammer to take over the lead at turn ten and race clear of her rivals to lead by six seconds after just three laps. She maintained this advantage until half-distance when the faster girls started to encounter the “traffic” of backmarkers. Four laps from the end she surrendered the lead but, as she prepared to put in a counter-attack, she ran off the track after the front wheel slipped away in a slick turn; the incident cost her fourteen seconds but she did not lose second place and had reduced the deficit to the leader to six seconds by the chequered flag to claim second place and already take over the virtual championship points lead. Race two was a true classic! The Kiwi girl moved forward to third place already on the first lap and took over second place, just over two seconds shy of the leader, halfway round the following lap. That was the greatest gap between the leading duo all race as they each gained, and lost, tenths-of-a-second to each other. Such was their pace that they had outdistanced even the girl in third place by more than thirty seconds at the finish. A difficult run through lappers on the penultimate lap appeared to have cost the Kawasaki girl her chance of victory but she called on all her resources during the final lap, as both of the leaders faced a clear track, to move relentlessly closer; in the very last corner of the race Courtney wound open the throttle for a dramatic pass around the outside of her rival to take the chequered flag by just a third-of-a-second. Underlining her determination that final lap was the fastest of a long and gruelling day. The rivals had each scored forty-seven championship points on the day but the Kawasaki girl clinched the top step on the podium by virtue of the second-moto decider. The final corner move also increased her lead in the world series standings from nine to fifteen points and her performance also ensured that Kawasaki once more moved securely ahead by the same margin in the FIM Manufacturers’ World Championship standings.
Courtney Duncan: “It was a good day all round. P2 in Quali was already a positive for me, then 2-1 for the overall and the red plate so I’m happy with how the day went. The second race was unreal. It was the last lap so you’re going to give it your best shot; you only have to lead that one lap past the finish line all day! Kiara was riding well – you can’t take that away from her – but I made a stupid mistake in the first moto, losing the front on a shiny clay spot. That lost me too much time but second is still good with the two-moto format because nothing can beat a 2-1. I like Turkey; I enjoy the layout, the jumps are well-built and the dirt’s good. Now I’m looking forward to doing it again on Tuesday. “
Amandine Verstappen, fifth in Qualification, stormed out of the start gate in race one on the 9MM Energy Drink BUD Racing Kawasaki but overshot the first turn to emerge fourth. She quickly regrouped to take over third on the second lap and, despite persistent pressure, defended that position defiantly throughout the remainder of the race for her best result of the season to date. The Belgian again showed commitment in race two as she quickly converted an eighth-placed start into fifth by the end of the opening lap and next time round was fourth, a position she held until two laps from the close when she was pushed back to fifth. She narrowly missed the podium as fourth overall and remains seventh in the series points standings.
Amandine Verstappen: “It was a good day for me. The track was really well-prepared and I already had a good feeling in the practice session; I was happy to have a good gate-pick with fifth-fastest time. I never take a gate next to my main rivals but I was a little bit too far from the inside and in the first corner the inside line was harder and faster than the outside. In the first race I had good start and battled all race-long to finish third which was my best of the season. In the second moto I was fourth for a long time, then I made a small mistake and lost one position but fourth overall is my best result so far. I have been training differently for the last month and today we saw the result; today was good mentally to give me confidence for the remainder of the series! “
The WMX competitors now have three days to regroup before the second race of the Turkish double-header at the same facility on Tuesday.