It was the undeniable power and impeccable handling of Yamaha’s YZ250F that saw three of the most talented female motocross racers stand on the podium at the opening round of the FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship in Valkenswaard, The Netherlands. Amandine Verstappen topped the podium 1-point clear of NoFear Yamaha WMX’s Nancy Van de Ven while MXFonta Yamaha WMX’s Larissa Papenmeier made it a clean sweep for Yamaha with her third place finish.
Navigating a dirt-bike around the brutally choppy and rugged sand circuit of Valkenswaard at speed is a high risk task for even the most skilled riders in the world. Verstappen proved that consistency pays off as she finished second-place in both races to win the first WMX round of the year, and take the early championship lead.
Van de Ven brought her home fans to their feet in Race 1 as she stormed through the field to fourth-place after falling on the opening lap. The Dutch star was disappointed with the first race and made up for her slight error in Race 1 by barging past Verstappen and captilizing on an mistake by the early race leader, Courtney Duncan, to take her first victory of the season in Race 2.
With the six-times WMX World Champion Kiara Fontanesi not racing the opening round, Larissa Papenmeier lined up determined to do well for the FontaMX Racing WMX Team. After going pole in Timed Practice, the small statured German went bar-to-bar with fellow Yamaha YZ250F rider Verstappen for second-place in Race 1. It was a photo-finish with 00.101 making the split between the duo, but it was Verstappen who was eventually awarded second-place, nudging Papenmeier back to third.
Following the mantra ‘consistency wins championships’ Papenmeier stayed out of trouble and finished the weekend with a smooth ride for third-place in Race 2.
All three YZ250F stars now have a six-week break before the next round of the WMX World Championship, which will take place in Agueda, Portugal on the weekend of May 17.