Courtesy of Sharon Cox
Larissa Papenmeier wins WMX Round 2 Overall going 3-1
Larissa Papenmeier turned her deepest desire into reality taking the Overall win at Round 2 of Women MX World Championship going 3-1 at MXGP of Netherlands at the weekend.
Showing an impressive display of racing skills in the deep sands of Valkenswaard, Larissa battled amongst the top 5 WMX riders, trading places with Nancy Van de Ven through-out Race 1 then charged pretty close to R1 leader Kaira Fontanesi to finish 3rd on Saturday.
With groomed track for WMX Opening Race on Sunday, Papenemier wasted no time, grabbing the hole-shot and then chequed out leading from start to finish. Stating at the end of Race 2, that ‘I knew I had the speed from R1 on Saturday’, Larissa owned her space up front leaving top 8 WMX riders battling for all important points and podium positions.
WMX Race 1 winner Kiara Fontanesi proved why #8 is 6x WMX Champion carving and cross-cutting ruts in the sand to hold gap in front to chequered flag. With improved start, Fontanesi confirmed the Italian and mum has WMX 2020 Title in sights finishing Round 2 Overall with 1-4 for 2nd step on the podium.
Nancy Van de Ven had all bases covered- home track, family and fans track-side and comfort of knowing she won WMX Race 2 at same venue in 2019. Pushing her way through the field in both starts, Nancy delivered solid performance going 2-3 for 3rd Overall.
Red Plate holder Courtney Duncan struggled to race to known potential – uncomfortable on the bike in the wet sands of Valkenswaard, bit out of sync from what all could see track-side. Not only that, Kiara and Larissa broke Courtney’s winning streak of 5 back-to-back GP wins from 2019 WMX Round 2 through to Round 5 plus 2020 WMX Round One.
Courtney’s finish of 4-2 cut her Red Plate Overall points to 5 gap buffer of 90 from Larissa on 85 and Kiara on 80. Nancy stands 4th Overall on 78.
If these top Women were providing enough visual watch-time up front, the fight for positions 5th to 10th was being played out between much improved performance of Shana van der Vlsit, Lynn Valk, Line Dam and oh-my a great ride by Australia’s Tahlia O’Hare.
Shana halved her Overall position from 10th at WMX Round One to 5th at Round 2 making rembrants of recovering from wrist injury thing of the past. Lynn Valk is indeed worth watching for sheer tenacity to push her limits up against more seasoned riders. Finishing 7-5 for 6th Overall, Lynn has plenty of fire in belly- better all watch out come WMX Round 3 in Spain in 6 weeks time.
Line Dam sent strong message to Van der Vlist and Valk that she can add to the mix for points going 6-7 for 7th Overall and what a great push for up-front position by Tahlia O’Hare, especially in Race 2. Not sure where the young Australian gets to train in thick, soggy, black sand back home, but Tahlia proved her fighting spirit can get you far coming in at 11th Overall.
Weekend to forget would have to go to Amandine Verstappen. Not fun having fallen and bike won’t start. More than frustrating when it happened more than once. Knowing Amandine, this won’t dent her confidence- hard-pack at Spain WMX Round 3 will be new game for all WMX riders.
WMX Round 3 MXGP of Spain April 19th.