For Nancy van de Ven the latest round of the 2016 WMX Championship was two days of extreme opposites. On Saturday the Dutch rider left the moto without scoring valuable points after a crash, frustrated and on the back foot against her chief rival, Frenchwoman Livia Lancelot.
On Sunday Nancy wasted no time in stamping her earned authority on the women’s field, leading the race from holeshot to finish and winning despite Lancelot’s persistent attacks on the hot, slippery motocross circuit in Mantova. The victory showed a complete turn-around from the day before and a sure sign that neither bad luck nor technical issues would define her weekend.
With temperatures above 37 degrees on Saturday and humidity around 60 percent, the WMX field took to the start with serious preparation for the heat. Trainers and mechanics held parasols above the riders at the gate and kept ice cold towels at hand to cool the motocrossers right up until the final minutes before the race.
Van de Ven and Lancelot escaped from the rest of the pack after the first turn, and traded places for two laps until a collision on a tight, uphill left turn tangled their motorcycles. The French rider remounted and resumed her race, chasing back to third, but Van de Ven’s YZ250F suffered damage and with her mechanic pushing she walked off the track.
On Sunday the weather was better, with the humidity down to around 30 percent and the air temperature a few degrees cooler for the second WMX moto. Van de Ven judged her start with great skill, took the holeshot and never saw another motorcycle in front of her. She won and captured all 25 points available. She also showed great professionalism in recovering from the collision and mistakes, and rode with the advantage of a YZ250F on the loose, slick sand over a hard base at Lombardia.
With two regular rounds left in the 2016 FIM WMX World Championship, Van de Ven sits second in the official standings, 24 points behind leader Lancelot. Facing a July race in Switzerland and then the season finale in August in Assen, Van de Ven has four more chances to take the leader’s red plate.