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WMX, MXGP OF THE NETHERLANDS - ARNHEM, The Netherlands, 20 Elokuu 2023

First GP victory for Lotte van Drunen

Sixteen-year-old Lotte van Drunen swept to the maiden GP victory of her young career with a dominant maximum scoreline in the Dutch round of the FIM World WMX Women’s Motocross Championship at Arnhem.

The teenager had already shown her sand skills to perfection with a clearcut victory in the first moto on Saturday afternoon and she emphasised her dominance in the second twenty-minute-plus-two-lap moto on Sunday morning by literally blowing away the opposition. Already a bike-length in front at turn one to claim the holeshot award she was almost out-of-sight of the chasers within a lap and continued to stretch her advantage each lap on the rugged track, eventually claiming victory by no less than forty seconds to complete an unbeaten weekend for a career-first GP victory just eleven days after celebrating her sixteenth birthday. The maximum scoreline has also reduced her deficit to the series leader, fellow Kawasaki rider Courtney Duncan, to twenty-three points and she is now just seven points shy of second in the series as the championship heads to the final round at Afyonkarahisar in Turkey on September 2/3. The two-moto victory also extends Kawasaki's lead in the FIM Manufacturers' Championship to thirty points.
Lotte van Drunen: "Yesterday I was the fastest all day and today I made it a lot easier for myself with the holeshot. I I could just ride my own race and made a big gap; I was riding relaxed pretty much all on my own. It was such a tremendous feeling to score my first GP victory here in front of my home fans and for sure I will never forgot this weekend; it was really special. We wrote "Queen of Sand" on my helmet this weekend and I guess I proved it; maybe that will be my nickname from now on."
Big Van World MTX Kawasaki's Courtney Duncan missed the podium for the first time this season in fourth but the New Zealander dug deep all weekend in the rugged sand to maintain a sixteen-point advantage in the series standings heading to the final round in Turkey next month. After her fourth place in the first moto on Saturday she made an excellent start to race two in third position and even took over second momentarily on the opening lap. Not finding the necessary rhythm during the first half of the race on the deeply-rutted track she was pushed back to seventh within five laps but she showed her strong character and resolve as she refused to panic. Dropping her lap times by three seconds at half-distance she regained no less than three positions within a single lap and, lapping faster than any of the opposition with the exception of Kawasaki colleague van Drunen, she continued her charge to regain a fully-deserved third three laps from the finish.
Courtney Duncan: "It was a heavy weekend for sure, but we always know that coming to the sand and I feel I minimised the damage out there. It's just a little out of the comfort zone coming to this stuff, and those girls who are brought up here are really comfortable in it, but I will continue to work on it for next year. 4-3 was just short of the podium which was disappointing, but most important is that I have a sixteen-point buffer going into Turkey. I always enjoy racing there so I'm looking to finish this off on a high."