Livia Lancelot clinched the FIM WMX World Motocross Championship for Kawasaki today at Assen in northern Netherlands; after 2008 it is the second world title in green for the Team 114 girl.
The 28 year old from France started the weekend quietly to earn fifth choice of gate at the start, but her immaculately prepared Kawasaki KX250F got her to the first corner with the leaders while her sole remaining rival for the title fell on the opening lap. Determined not to take any risks Livia made no attempt to stay with the race leaders, and the inevitable nervous tension as the world title came closer led to her making many mistakes on the tortuous sandy track; she eventually came under pressure from behind, surrendering third place as a lapped rider got in her way. Although faster on many sections of the track she could not make a pass stick to regain third place and her title rival, a Dutch girl, closed onto her rear wheel in a desperate attempt to keep the destiny of the championship open. Eventually the Dutch girl touched Livia’s bike from behind, but justice was seen to be done as Livia maintained control of her Kawasaki and her rival fell. They were again close on the final lap, but Livia, in the knowledge that the title was secure if she stayed in front, remained cool to the finish to be greeted by her team, family and friends as 2016 FIM women’s world motocross champion.
“I got the job done, but this race was terrible! I got a good start, but Fontanesi passed me and after one lap I saw that I couldn’t follow Duncan and Fontanesi. I was so tense that I had the feeling that the bike was not running well, but in fact the bike was perfect and I was making so many mistakes. I knew that Van de Ven had a crash at the start, but I also realised that she would come back as I was riding so bad. I was third when I made a mistake behind a lapper; Papenmeier passed me and after that I couldn’t keep a good rhythm; I was faster than her in some sections, but couldn’t make a move. Van de Ven came back behind me and tried to pass me; I knew what she could do after what happened in Mantova, and in fact she crashed! But she was again behind me on the last lap; I knew that it would be tough but I never gave up as I wanted to secure the title today. I wanted to have a quiet night, and as I finished in front of her I secured the world title for the second time in my career, always with Kawasaki. I’ve been working hard for ten years now, and it was even harder this year as some young girls coming to the world Championship are really fast, but I knew that all my experience would help me, and today I got the reward for all these years of investment.”