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Preview: 2024 WMX – The contenders

Preview: 2024 WMX – The contenders

The opening WMX series gets underway this weekend in Spain so ahead of round one we’ll take a look at the main contenders. 

Reigning champion, Courtney Duncan has won four WMX titles in the space of four years and she’ll be looking to make it five in six this year. After being with the DRT Kawasaki team, it is change for Duncan in 2024 after signing with F&H Racing but it still sees her running Kawasaki machinery. She will also spend more time in the Netherlands instead of the UK as well as working closer with Marc de Reuver. It should be a really good fit and as usual Duncan goes in as the favourite for 2024. 

Image: Shot by Bavo

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Heading in hot for the 2024 season will be Lotte van Drunen after her rookie season last year. The sixteen year old sensation finished her rookie season third in the championship only forty points off Duncan – an impressive first year racing the class. No surprise but van Drunen is unbelievable in the sand and brutal conditions so she will be very hard to stop in those conditions. In hard pack can she close the gap to Duncan? If she can, she will challenge for the title. Last year, van Drunen had her own setup but for 2024 she will have official Yamaha backing after signing with de Boets Yamaha. The future is very bright and it’s a matter of time before she delivers an WMX title. In the future she has everything to dominate the class. 

Last year was very strong for Daniela Guillen as she mounted a championship threat before Duncan got the better of her. The Spanish talent just turned 18 last month so she is young and has plenty of time on her side. She continues to grow and improve every season so she’ll be hoping this is the year she can claim that WMX title – she shouldn’t be underestimated. 

Image: RFME

After being with the Fantic setup in 2023, Lynn Valk is on the move for the 2024 season as she has signed with Schmicker KTM. She has also been used to having her Brother, Cas as a team mate but this year they won’t be team mates which could be strange territory. Valk is very fast and consistent so there’s no doubt she’ll be a front runner in the class. Will she be able to win enough to mount a championship threat? That is what it come come down too.  

The sport is unpredicted so you never truly know what is around the corner but 2024 is expected to be Kiara Fontanesi’s last season racing the WMX series. What a career she has had winning six WMX titles and now a mother of two. It’s never easy coming back after having a child and Fontanesi has done it twice now and is always a front runner. She has a busy life being a mother now so WMX isn’t the main priority but credit to her she is still very fast and she believes she can still win the title and bow out on top. It would be an amazing story and the Italian is very determined so she can never be ruled out.  

She just keeps on going! Larissa Papenmeier is by far the most experienced rider in the class and her time racing is coming to an end  – she said eight years ago she was thinking of stopping and here she is still racing! The German is still very fast and finished seventh in the championship last year despite missing a round of the series. After a number of years on Yamaha machinery she will have new motivation this year as she has made the switch to Honda which is probably the perfect time for a switch. 

Last year was Shana van der Vlist first year on the Yamaha but the year didn’t go to plan and an injury meaning she missed two rounds of the series didn’t help her cause. For 2024, she will hope to stay injury free for the whole season and now she has had a season on the Yamaha she’ll hope to be even faster this year. She is very fast in sand so should be a podium contender in those conditions at the least.  

The last couple of years have been really good for Danish talent, Sara Andersen as she has finished fifth in the championship the last two years. What’s the next goal for Andersen? To close that gap to the top three and try and finish inside that top three of the series. It’s not going to be easy but she is under rated, it’s not easy running consistently in the WMX class. 

Since her first WMX podium on her debut, things haven’t gone according to plan for Martine Hughes. The Norwegian had injuries to deal with last year which certainly didn’t help but this year she will be hoping to rebuild her career and remind us of her talent – she is really good! Hughes has made another switch for 2024 as she will swap Husqvarna machinery for Kawasaki and she’ll be hoping to get her career back on track. 

With Nancy van de Ven sadly having to step away from the sport, the Ceres71 Yamaha team ran by Alessio Choidi was on the look out for a new rider. The team decided to snap up Danee Gelissen who burst onto the WMX scene last year. Despite only being 17 years old she ended last year on a high finishing in the top ten. That will surely help her confidence and now she has the backing of a good team she should be even better in 2024. 

Another Dutch rider that had a pretty good season last year was Britt Jans-Beken as she finished eighth in the championship. She was a consistent top ten rider in the WMX class which isn’t easy to do so she deserves credit. This year she will want to close down the gap to the top five which is certainly doable. 

Last but no means is young British talent, Lucy Barker who should have a promising future in the WMX class. Last year she raced the Arnhem round and finished thirteenth in the second moto which isn’t bad at all. This year looks like is going to be her first proper go at racing the WMX series so it’s all about learning as much as she can which will help her in the future. 

Article: Andy McKinstry