Courtney Duncan captures 4th World Motocross Title

4 September 2023

New Zealand’s Courtney Duncan has captured another FIM World WMX Women’s Motocross Championship, with a round win at the final round in Afyonkarahisar, Turkey.

This title takes Courtney’s championship tally to four, but it hasn’t come easy. Courtney bounced back from a 7th overall in the 2022 championship suffering from a broken collarbone early in the season, ending her chances of four consecutive championship titles.

Riding for Big Van World MTX Kawasaki (KX250), Duncan beat an on-form Spaniard Daniela Guillen to the title by 30 points. Rounding out the championship podium was Kawasaki stablemate Lotte Van Drunen, 10 points further back. Van Drunen proved to be a worthy competitor to Courtney at times during the season. The rookie and sand spacialist took the first race win of the season in the sand of Sardegna, Italy and backed it up with an overall round victory, going 1-1 at her home GP in the Netherlands.

However, it was Duncan who proved too much for her competition down the stretch, taking overall wins at 4 of the 6 of the championship rounds.

Left to right: Daniela Guillen (ESP), Courtney Duncan (NZL), Lotte Van Drunen (NED)

The championship title is sure to mean a little extra this year with Duncan fending off two former world champions in Nancy Van Der Ven (2022) and 6-time world champion Kiara Fontanessi to jump back on the top step of the podium. Van Der Ven would end her season early with injury after a crash with Australian rookie Charli Cannon.

Duncan would show her class at round 3 in Spain and round 4 in France with perfect 1-1 scores in both races to boost her hopes at the championship. She rode well in the deep sand at round 5, fighting hard against the sand specialists to finish 4th overall, keeping her championship alive and minimising the damage in conditions the Kiwi doesn’t frequent as much as her Euro counterparts.

Courtney rode smart at the final round in Turkey, staying clear of trouble in the first race to take an easy win. After race 1, the heavens opened up and created a treacherous race track. A 17th place finish in the final race would be enough to clinch the title. After electing to forgo the sighting lap, Duncan would get off to a good start but struggle on the opening lap as she figured out the muddy circuit. She rebounded to finish a safe 2nd place with carnage unfolding all around her to bring home her fourth World Championship.

Kawasaki would take the manufacturers title thanks to the combined efforts of Courtney and Lotte Van Drunen, capturing 292 points out of a perfect 300 having won 10 of the 12 championship races between them.

Courtney was pleased to celebrate the win with her mother and friends who made the trip to Turkey to support the Kiwi.


WMX – Championship Top 10 Classification: 1. Courtney Duncan (NZL, KAW), 270 points; 2. Daniela Guillen (ESP, GAS), 240 p.; 3. Lotte Van Drunen (NED, KAW), 230 p.; 4. Lynn Valk (NED, FAN), 211 p.; 5. Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), 166 p.; 6 Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, GAS), 157 p.;  7. p. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, YAM), 145 p.;  8. Britt Jans-Beken (NED, YAM), 130 p.; 9.  Charli Cannon (AUS, YAM), 106 p.; 10. Van Der Vlsit (NED, YAM), 98 p.

Manufacturers Championship:

  1. Kawasaki – 292
  2. GasGas – 250
  3. Yamaha – 217
  4. Fantic – 211
  5. KTM – 167
  6. Husqvarna – 82
  7. Honda – 34

2023 FIM WMX Women’s Motocross World Championship calendar



Grand Prix Date
1 Sardegna (ITA) – Riola Sardo 25 – 26 Mar
2 Switzerland – Frauenfeld 8 – 10 Apr
3 Spain – intu Xanadú – Arroyomolinos 6 – 7 May
4 France – Villars sous Ecot 20 – 21 May
5 Netherlands – Arnhem 19 – 20 Aug
6 Turkey –  Afyonkarahisar 2 – 3 Sep


Promising motocross rider Karaitiana Horne joins Pro Circuit Team Green Race Team

MAY 29, 2023:

Kawasaki Motorcycle Distributors is proud to announce the support of Karaitiana Horne for the 2023/2024 New Zealand motocross season. Joining the Pro Circuit Team Green Development Race Team, Karaitiana will contest race events aboard her Pro Circuit Team Green KX250.

 Alarn Young, team manager says, “We’re excited for Karaitiana to join the team. Karaitiana is a talented up-and-coming rider with a bright future. I look forward to seeing her grow as a rider and potentially follow in the footsteps that Courtney Duncan has paved to the world stage.”

 When asked what Karaitiana’s expectations are for the season she says, “my goal is to train hard, be faster and win”. The 14-year-old from Raetahi already has multiple junior national titles to her name, most recently winning her class at the 2023 NZ Junior Nationals with 5 from 5 wins.

Karaitiana will join team riders Maz Parkes, Flynn Watts, Soren Staudinger, Tyler Brown and Jared Hannon.

The team has already had a stellar first season since establishing last year with teammates Maz Parkes and Flynn Watts winning their respective classes at Junior Nationals. Their senior graded teammates Tyler Brown and Jared Hannon also tasted success with Tyler clinching both the MX1 and MX2 titles at the NZ TT Champs while Jared has been busy on the world stage racing in the USA.

 With the arrival of her KX250, Karaitiana is busy getting acclimatised to her new bike in the lead-up to the season.

Karaitiana has the full support of her family and receives mentorship from her father Richard, a successful racer in his own right. The upcoming season will see Karaitiana jump up from the junior ranks and test her abilities against senior riders at select events for the first time.

Karaitiana is also supported by C4, Nutrition Systems, Stihl Shop Hamilton East, Whites Powersports, Motomuck, Bridgestone, Bike Torque, Chase Works, Got Speed Media, Powerparts Depot, RB Bikes, Forest Service & Training and Fly Racing.



History-maker Duncan takes over all-time GP win record with double victories in France

22 May 2023

New Zealand’s Courtney Duncan has cemented herself in FIM World WMX Women’s Motocross Championship history, with double moto victories in France giving her the record for the most ever Grand Prix wins with 22.

Fittingly, her closest competitor over the weekend at the Villars sous Écot track was her long-time rival and 21 career GP winner Italy’s Kiara Fontanesi, whom Duncan has now moved ahead of by one.

Riding for Big Van World MTX Kawasaki, Duncan beat French round runner-up and six-time world champion Fontanesi in both races to take overall victory in France and extend her overall championship lead by 20 points.

“These French GP wins saw me take over the all-time GP wins in WMX and I’m definitely stoked on that. It was something I wanted to achieve coming into this weekend, so to tick that off is an incredibly good feeling,” Duncan says.

A three-time world champion, Duncan is in fine form this season with five moto wins from eight starts to her name. For the past two rounds, where she has won every race, it seems everything she touches turns to gold and even a crash in the first moto just fuelled her fire.

Twenty-seven-year-old Duncan was quickly through to second with a dramatic downhill double-pass halfway around the opening lap on the highly technical, heavy French track. As she closed in on the leader Fontanesi, she cross-rutted on a heavy landing and was thrown into the trackside earth-bank. Dunedin’s Duncan quickly reboarded her Kawasaki KX250 and re-joined the race in fifth place, before swiftly moving back into third.

The race leader was already 11 secs clear and the second placed rider Spain’s Daniela Guillen was 4 secs up the track – meaning Duncan had her work cut out for her. By lap four she had regained second position and on the eighth of eleven laps, having recorded a succession of fastest laps, she swept decisively around Fontanesi to move in front and eventually win by 27 secs.

Heading out to the second race on a high, Duncan did something unusual for her.

“In the second race, I took the holeshot which usually never happens. So, I think I was honestly more stoked on the holeshot than the eventual race win. I led from start to finish so can’t complain about that,” she says.

Her second moto victory for the weekend was achieved 7 secs ahead of Fontanesi.

As the WMX series takes a break until mid-August, Duncan heads home to New Zealand with an extremely solid 20-point-lead in the championship standings and the knowledge she more than has what it takes to bring back her fourth winner’s trophy at the season’s end in September.

“I think there’s multiple things that are working for me in 2023. It started off with our pre-season, where I had a really strong build-up in New Zealand.  We put a lot of hard work in there and it set me off on the right foot,” she says.

“My bike is also super good, especially the suspension, which I did a lot of testing with in NZ before I left.”

“I’m also another year wiser and it’s good to have a bit more speed. All in all, it’s been a really good start to the season.”

Duncan will spend around a month in New Zealand before heading to the Netherlands, where the penultimate fifth round will be held.

“The next race is in the sand, so I will do about a five or six-week boot camp there to get ready for that,” she says.

Kawasaki New Zealand’s Managing Director Shane Verhoeven says: “To say we’re proud of what Courtney has achieved this weekend is an understatement. Taking the WMX GP win record is no small feat when the competition gets fiercer every season.”

“The eye-test is showing the extra hours testing suspension in NZ is paying off and Courtney has shown that, when comfortable, she does not need good starts to win. Thankfully, her rare holeshot in moto 2 must have been very welcome.”

“We looked forward to seeing Courtney back in NZ for the season break and at the Kawasaki stand at Fieldays next month.”


WMX – Race 1 – Top 10 Classification: 11. Courtney Duncan (NZL, Kawasaki), 26:40.276; 2. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, GASGAS), +0:27.263; 3. Daniela Guillen (ESP, GASGAS), +0:35.187; 4. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, Yamaha), +0:41.001; 5. Lotte Van Drunen (NED, Kawasaki), +0:44.094; 6. Lynn Valk (NED, Fantic), +0:47.843; 7. Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), +1:25.376; 8. Mathilde Martinez (FRA, GASGAS), +1:38.506; 9. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, Yamaha), +1:45.255; 10. Martine Hughes (NOR, Husqvarna), +2:04.735


WMX – Race 2 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Courtney Duncan (NZL, Kawasaki), 25:33.282; 2. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, GASGAS), +0:07.444; 3. Daniela Guillen (ESP, GASGAS), +0:09.403; 4. Lotte Van Drunen (NED, Kawasaki), +0:17.509; 5. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, Yamaha), +0:31.275; 6. Lynn Valk (NED, Fantic), +0:37.028; 7. Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), +0:57.815; 8. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, Yamaha), +1:07.731; 9. Danee Gelissen (NED, KTM), +1:18.948; 10. Mathea Seleboe (NOR, Yamaha), +1:21.736


WMX – Overall Top 10 Classification: 1. Courtney Duncan (NZL, KAW), 50 points; 2. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, GAS), 44 p.; 3. Daniela Guillen (ESP, GAS), 40 p.; 4. Lotte Van Drunen (NED, KAW), 34 p.; 5. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, YAM), 34 p.; 6. Lynn Valk (NED, FAN), 30 p.; 7. Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), 28 p.; 8. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, YAM), 25 p.; 9. Mathilde Martinez (FRA, GAS), 22 p.; 10. Danee Gelissen (NED, KTM), 21 p


WMX – Championship Top 10 Classification: 1. Courtney Duncan (NZL, KAW), 185 points; 2. Daniela Guillen (ESP, GAS), 165 p.; 3. Lotte Van Drunen (NED, KAW), 150 p.; 4. Lynn Valk (NED, FAN), 128 p.; 5. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, GAS), 127 p.; 6. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, YAM), 105 p.; 7. Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), 103 p.; 8. Charli Cannon (AUS, YAM), 91 p.; 9. Britt Jans-Beken (NED, YAM), 84 p.; 10. Giorgia Blasigh (ITA, KTM), 73 p


WMX race weekend highlights

Moto one highlights


2023 FIM WMX Women’s Motocross World Championship calendar



Grand Prix Date
1 Sardegna (ITA) – Riola Sardo 25 – 26 Mar
2 Switzerland – Frauenfeld 8 – 10 Apr
3 Spain – intu Xanadú – Arroyomolinos 6 – 7 May
4 France – Villars sous Ecot 20 – 21 May
5 Netherlands – Arnhem 19 – 20 Aug
6 Turkey –  Afyonkarahisar 2 – 3 Sep

Credit: Words by Catherine Pattison



MAY 18, 2023: Like father, like son – winning national motorcycling titles became a family affair at the 2023 edition of the New Zealand Motocross TT Nationals at Taupiri at the weekend.

Throttles were twisted to the stops on the mostly-flat grassland course at Taupiri, north of Hamilton at the weekend and riding skill, bravery, bike reliability and a perhaps a small element of luck were the key ingredients in determining the eventual title winners.

Hosted by the Patetonga Motorcycle Club, this year’s RAM-sponsored New Zealand Motocross TT Championships on Saturday and Sunday had it all, with riders from all corners of the country arriving to battle the elements and one another over the two days.

The entry list included the stars of motocross, cross-country, enduro and even a few road-racing heroes, and it was Kawasaki father and son pair Craig and Tyler Brown who stole a large portion of the limelight.

Pukekawa’s Tyler Brown (Pro Circuit Team Green Kawasaki KX250), overall winner in two separate categories at the 2023 TT Nationals north of Hamilton at the weekend. Photo by Andy McGechan,

The 18-year-old Tyler Brown, a former national junior motocross champion now racing in the senior ranks, was the outstanding individual of the weekend, winning two of the premier bike categories, while his 49-year-old father Craig Brown captured the veterans’ over-45 years’ age group title.

Tyler Brown sealed up both the MX1 (open class) and MX2 (250cc) class titles with dominant displays over the two days.

Racing a MR Motorcycles Kawasaki KX450 that he’d only collected the week before the event, Tyler Brown finished with a 1-2-1-2-2 score-card in the MX1 class and took his Kawasaki KX250 to lodge a 1-1-2-1-2 score-card in winning the MX2 class title. He never finished worse than runner-up in any of the 10 races he started at the weekend.

The teenager finished ahead of Rotorua pair Callum Dudson and Hunter Steens in the MX1 class and Waihi’s Luke Maitland and Pukekawa’s Adam Hodge completed the podium in the MX2 class.

His dad, Craig, was similarly dominant, taking his Kawasaki KX450 to register 1-1-1-3-2 results in his veterans’ class races, enough to edge out former national TT and motocross champion Mitch Rowe, of New Plymouth, and Te Awamutu’s former national cross-country and motocross frontrunner Mark Penny.

“This was only Tyler’s second time of racing a 450cc bike,” explained Craig Brown. “But he looked really comfortable on the bike and he soon got the hang of switching over from a 450cc bike to the 250cc version and then back again throughout the weekend.

“We both knew what we had to do to win the titles and we each built up good points leads early on. This allowed us to relax and cruise a bit later in the weekend. That was the strategy anyway,” he laughed.

“I had a bit of a crash in my fourth race, but I didn’t need to go too hard in that race anyway,” said Craig Brown, a racer who is no stranger to winning national motocross and TT titles.

Also keeping it all in the family, a father and daughter combination also featured at the weekend, with Rowe’s daughter, Mikayla Rowe, from Gordonton, backing up her dad’s separate winning of the classic bike class by winning the senior women’s class title.

Other class winners over the weekend were Kumeu’s Logan Maddren (125cc); Beachlands’ Blake Gillard (veterans’ 35-44 years); Tuakau’s Cody Sheppard (junior 14-16 years, 250cc); Otorohanga’s Cooper Phillips (junior 12-16 years, 125cc); Karapiro’s Jack Hazelden (8-12 years, 85cc); Phillips 12-16 years, 85cc); Hamilton’s Ella Mackie (junior women, 85cc); Waimauku’s Ruby Leech (junior women, 125/250cc); Dudson (enduro bikes); Mitch Rowe (classic bikes); Stratford’s Rex Rooney (mini 50cc); Coatesville’s Sebastian Bassett (mini 65cc trail bikes); Stratford’s Camo Keegan (ATV support).

Credit: Words and Photo by Andy McGechan,


Duncan takes over WMX lead with double victories in Spain

8 May 2023

Duncan takes over WMX lead with double victories in Spain

Giving her winner’s speech for the second time over the Spanish MXGP weekend, New Zealand’s Courtney Duncan surmised that she couldn’t have asked for more.

The Big Van World MTX Kawasaki rider heads away from the intu Xanadú Arroyomolinos track with two FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship winner’s trophies, the round victory, and the coveted WMX championship leader’s red plate at the season’s halfway mark.

Duncan was dominant on her production KX250 Kawasaki as she raced to her first double-moto victory of the season, at the third WMX round. Achieving her 21st career GP victory in the second race has placed her first equal in the all-time series records.

Located near the Spanish capital of Madrid, this hard pack track has been kind to Dunedin’s Duncan in the past and she has left here victorious after her previous two rounds.

“I got the red plate back and went 1-1, so pretty satisfied with that. I don’t know what it is about Spain but I’ve always had success here and I really enjoy the layout of the track,” Duncan says.

She signalled her intentions early on in the weekend, lapping 0.75 secs faster than any of her rivals in the practice session.

Then in Saturday afternoon’s 20-minutes (plus two laps) opening moto she quickly advanced from a cautious third-placed start to take over the lead before the end of the opening lap. Moving clear of her chasers at the rate of 2 secs per lap she led comfortably by 15 secs at the race’s halfway mark and eventually cruised home 28 secs ahead of runner-up rider Italy’s Kiara Fontanesi.

The 25 points for moto victory also moved her to the head of the championship standings by five points going into the second race.

Duncan was closed down coming out of the start gate but she didn’t panic and moved steadily up to fifth. The sticky track conditions featured deep ruts in many of the turns due to the track-watering necessary to combat the intense Spanish heat. As per usual, the tougher it got – the better Duncan rode. She chose her lines cleverly to avoid coming together with her rivals, and picking them off one-by-one, moved to the front on the fourth of 11 laps. Duncan then eased away to take the chequered flag by 7 secs.

She now takes a 10-point WMX Championship lead to the next round of the series at Villars-sous-Ecot in France in a fortnight. Kawasaki also extended the lead in the FIM Manufacturers’ Championship to 16 points courtesy of Duncan’s double moto victory.

“It feels good to have the red plate back, but at the same time it’s just as important to go out and do my best every moto. As long as I have the red plate at the end of the season that’s all that matters,” Duncan says.

After taking the overall win at the second WMX round at Frauenfeld, Switzerland, over Easter, it feels like she’s on a roll.

“It was cool to carry on the momentum this weekend and hopefully we can carry it on to France in two weeks’ time,” Duncan says.

Kawasaki New Zealand’s Managing Director Shane Verhoeven was understandably thrilled about Duncan’s results.

“We couldn’t be prouder of Courtney’s ride in Spain. Coming from behind in both motos, she did what she needed to do to stay out of trouble and race forward. It was the championship ride she needed at the mid-way point of the season. I am sure she will take this confidence into her next round in France over the May 20 – 21 weekend,” he says.

WMX Race one

WMX Race two

2023 FIM WMX Women’s Motocross World Championship calendar



Grand Prix Date
1 Sardegna (ITA) – Riola Sardo 25 – 26 Mar
2 Switzerland – Frauenfeld 8 – 10 Apr
3 Spain – intu Xanadú – Arroyomolinos 6 – 7 May
4 France – Villars sous Ecot 20 – 21 May
5 Netherlands – Arnhem 19 – 20 Aug
6 Turkey –  Afyonkarahisar 2 – 3 Sep

Credit: Words by Catherine Pattison



April 24, 2023:Even if you think you’ve had a tough day at the office and you’re totally spent as you head home after work, you really still have no idea just how gruelling an eight-hour shift can actually be.

Sunday’s inaugural Forestland Eight-Hour Cross-country race, held on steep and waterlogged farmland at Oparau, near Kawhia, was perhaps the ultimate test of man and machine, with more than 260 of New Zealand’s elite off-road motorcycle riders battling one another, brutal terrain and the clock in a bid to become the first champion in this new marathon contest.

Bridgestone Kawasaki Racing Team rider Cody Cooper (Kawasaki KX450X), who co-rode with Whyteline Kawasaki ace Brad Groombridge to win the inaugural Forestland Cross-country race near Kawhia on Sunday. Photo by Andy McGechan,

To cut a long story short, it was the two-man pairing of Taupo’s Brad Groombridge and Papamoa’s Cody Cooper who reigned supreme at this Maxima Racing Oils-sponsored event, the two Kawasaki riders alternating to complete 15 arduous laps between them in the eight hours – one of only two teams to do so.

The race duration for Groombridge and Cooper was actually eight hours, 24 minutes and 12 seconds by the time the chequered flag was finally shown.

Runners-up and the only other pairing to complete 15 laps were Operau brothers James and Cooper Scott, who crossed the finish line just over eight minutes behind the victorious Groombridge/Cooper combo.

Wairoa’s Tommy Watts and Taupo’s Wil Yeoman teamed up to finish third overall, a lap behind the leading two teams, while New Plymouth’s Sam Parker and Cambridge’s Dylan Yearbury co-rode their way to fourth overall and Kawakawa Bay’s Ryan Hayward and Oparau’s Hunter Scott shared riding duties to claim fifth spot overall.

Despite the impressive winning margin, the 32-year-old Groombridge and 39-year-old Cooper didn’t have an easy time of it.

“I had the job of riding first for us,” said Groombridge. “And I managed to get a fairly good start. I was in about 15th at the beginning of the opening lap, but got my way up to third by the end of that lap. Each lap took us about 34 minutes to complete,” he said.

“We remained in fourth throughout most of the first half of the race. It was very tough because there were lots of ruts and it was very bumpy. Visibility was also an issue because it was drizzling in places and my goggles were a mess.

“Our plan had been to race two laps each time we changed over riders but, because of the tough conditions, we decided to go one-for-one for the first six laps or so, before we then changed to each of us doing two-lap stints.

“I suffered two big crashes on our fifth lap … my third lap … and that cost us a lot of time,” Groombridge explained. “I was somersaulted off the bike in one of those crashes but, thankfully, I wasn’t really hurt.”

However, team-mate Cooper was hurt during his first time out in the track, the team’s second lap.

“I pulled my groin and was in a bit of pain after that,” Cooper revealed.

“The elements were difficult to deal with, but it all worked out for us in the end. I took some painkillers and rode a little tentatively, but I managed to get into a rhythm and got the job done.”

“It was a long day, and I was feeling pretty sore afterwards.”

Groombridge snatched the lead for the Kawasaki duo on the eighth lap – about halfway through the race – and they steadily built on that to create what became a winning buffer.

As Groombridge remarked after Sunday’s marathon race “you really couldn’t find a better duo than Cody and me” to tackle this event.

Groombridge is a three-time former national cross-country champion (winner in 2016, 2017 and 2018) and he also twice won the national enduro crown (in 2016 and 2018) and has multiple Acerbis Four-Hour crowns to his credit, most of them achieved while riding solo.

Cooper is a multi-time national 125cc, MX2 (250cc) and MX1 (450cc) motocross champion, having just last month taken a Kawasaki KX250 to clinch the national MX2 title for 2023. Cooper is also a record five-time former winner of the fabled Tarawera 100 cross-country marathon near Kawerau.

Credit: Words and Photo by Andy McGechan,



April 17, 2023:

Bay of Plenty’s Flynn Watts demonstrated perfectly why green means go when he clinched his first national motocross title in Southland at the weekend.

The 16-year-old from Pukehina, near Whakatane, took his bright green Kawasaki KX250 to seal up the premier 14-16 years’ 250cc class title at the three-day 2023 New Zealand Junior Motocross Championships on the outskirts of Invercargill.

The annual school holiday event was run from Friday through until Sunday, at The Sandpit track at Otatara, and the racing was incredibly fierce, with the elite of New Zealand’s junior motocross talent, aged between eight and 16 years, all determined to make their mark before they graduate to the senior ranks, where racing and winning gets a whole lot harder.

Watts has been racing high-powered motocross bikes since he was aged just four and he needed every kilogram of experience to tackle and eventually beat the nation’s elite junior racers in Invercargill at the weekend.

Watts finished runner-up to rival Seth Morrow, from Silverdale, in the first race of the weekend, but then he won the next two, which meant he led the standings with just Sunday’s racing still to come.

Another runner-up finish and then an unaccustomed fourth in the final race of the weekend was enough for Watts to get the job done and he finished the event on top of this premier grade, ahead of Levin’s Phoenix Van Dusschoten and former Southland rider Morrow.

“I knew where I had to finish in that last race, so just relaxed a bit and settled for fourth,” Watts explained.

“The track was challenging and fast too, but that suited me. The suspension set-up was great and I had no bike issues all weekend.

“I had finished third overall in my class at the junior nationals in Tauranga two years ago and was forced to skip last year’s nationals in Taranaki because of injury, so it was great to bounce back and win my first title now. I was sidelined with injury for something like eight months, but that’s all forgotten now.

“I am hoping I can head away to race in the United States later in the year, but that’s just in the planning stages at the moment.”

Meanwhile, his Pro Circuit Kawasaki Racing Team-mate, Mangakino’s Maz Parkes, also tasted great success at the weekend, winning the 12-13 years’ 85cc/150cc class title.

Parkes won four out of his five races at the weekend and, like Watts, he was satisfied to settle for fourth in his final outings, easily enough to get the job done and seal up the title ahead of Karaka’s Hayden Draper and Auckland’s Jack Ellingham.

It is interesting to note that Papamoa’s Cody Cooper took his Bridgestone Kawasaki Racing Team KX250 to win the senior MX2 (250cc) title at the 2023 senior New Zealand Motocross Championships in March, which means the brand now holds both the national senior and junior titles for 250cc motocross competition.

Credit: Words by Andy McGechan,

Keep up to date with the new team on Facebook and Instagram. @procircuitteamgreen



Duncan takes the overall win in Switzerland

11 April 2023

On the fight-back after the season opener on Sardinian sand, New Zealand’s Courtney Duncan took overall victory at the FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship’s second round in Frauenfeld, Switzerland, over Easter.

The MXGP of Switzerland’s last edition was held in 2018 – the year before Duncan achieved her first of her three consecutive WMX Championship wins – and the track has been completely renewed since then.

The Big Van World MTX Kawasaki rider Duncan has learned over that time how to get going, when the going gets tough and the first moto’s heavy track following a downpour on Saturday was her time to shine.

Duncan was positioned fourth after the first lap with Italian Kiara Fontanesi quickly taking the lead after the first turns. Spain’s Daniela Guillen was all over her rear wheel making a move early to take the lead off Fontanesi. The two riders were followed by Australian Charli Cannon and Duncan.

Looking quick on her bike, the Kiwi then passed Cannon for third on lap 2, and soon after caught the front two riders Guillen and Fontanesi.

The leading trio created a gap on the rest of the pack as a three-way battle went on between lap 2 and 5. Fontanesi eventually took the lead as she passed Guillen on lap 4, while Duncan, who was in third position at the time, tirelessly piled pressure on the Spaniard. Guillen could not contain Duncan’s speed on lap 5 and dropped down to third.

Dunedin’s Duncan, who lives in England over the WMX championship season, then focused her sights on Fontanesi and passed the six-time world champion on lap 7, keeping the lead until the end. Fontanesi finished second and Guillen settled for third.

Duncan was happy with the first race.

“On Saturday afternoon, the track was super technical and had heaps of lines. Although I didn’t get the best start, I made my way through the pack and into the lead and was able to pull about a 20-second gap by the end of the race,” she says.

On Easter Monday morning, the second race started with Dutchwoman Lotte Van Drunen taking the lead in front of her compatriot Nancy Van de Ven and Duncan. Van de Ven couldn’t contain Duncan’s onslaught and succumbed on lap 3. The front-running trio finished in that same order.

“They flatten the track for moto two and we were up first, so it was hard to make a difference. That being said, I need to work hard on that as well, because we will most likely have many of those this season,” Duncan says.

Duncan’s 1-2 results put her on top of the overall round podium above Van Drunen in second place and Guillen in third.

“I’ve now moved into second – one point off the championship lead – and I made up 9 points this weekend, which was awesome. The next race is Spain in three weeks’ time, so it’s back to the UK, back to work and hopefully we can come out swinging in Spain,” Duncan wraps up.

Kawasaki New Zealand’s Managing Director Shane Verhoeven says: “It’s special to hear the national anthem once again after a solid performance from Courtney in Switzerland. I’m sure this will give her the boost of confidence she needs heading to one of her favourite tracks in Spain next month.”

“While championship leader Lotte shone in her favoured sand conditions in Sardinia, Courtney will be sure to stamp her authority at the hard pack Intu Xanadú track. The racing has been electrifying this season already and we’ll be backing Duncan all the way,” Verhoeven says.



WMX – Race 1 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Courtney Duncan (NZL, Kawasaki), 24:10.055; 2. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, GASGAS), +0:18.530; 3. Daniela Guillen (ESP, GASGAS), +0:32.373; 4. Charli Cannon (AUS, Yamaha), +0:39.418; 5. Lotte Van Drunen (NED, Kawasaki), +0:41.450; 6. Lynn Valk (NED, Fantic), +0:53.977; 7. Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), +1:04.870; 8. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, Yamaha), +1:11.407; 9. Britt Jans-Beken (NED, KTM), +1:38.530; 10. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, Yamaha), +1:39.096;

WMX – Race 2 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Lotte Van Drunen (NED, Kawasaki), 24:28.136; 2. Courtney Duncan (NZL, Kawasaki), +0:09.115; 3. Nancy van de Ven (NED, Yamaha), +0:10.011; 4. Daniela Guillen (ESP, GASGAS), +0:30.292; 5. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, GASGAS), +0:33.282; 6. Lynn Valk (NED, Fantic), +0:36.647; 7. Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), +0:51.825; 8. Charli Cannon (AUS, Yamaha), +0:53.521; 9. Giorgia Blasigh (ITA, KTM), +1:08.408; 10. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, Yamaha), +1:24.599

WMX – Overall Top 10 Classification: 1. Courtney Duncan (NZL, KAW), 47 points; 2. Lotte Van Drunen (NED, KAW), 41 p.; 3. Daniela Guillen (ESP, GAS), 38 p.; 4. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, GAS), 38 p.; 5. Charli Cannon (AUS, YAM), 31 p.; 6. Lynn Valk (NED, FAN), 30 p.; 7. Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), 28 p.; 8. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, YAM), 24 p.; 9. Giorgia Blasigh (ITA, KTM), 22 p.; 10. Britt Jans-Beken (NED, KTM), 22 p.;

WMX – Championship Top 10 Classification: 1. Lotte Van Drunen (NED, KAW), 86 points; 2. Courtney Duncan (NZL, KAW), 85 p.; 3. Daniela Guillen (ESP, GAS), 85 p.; 4. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, GAS), 61 p.; 5. Charli Cannon (AUS, YAM), 58 p.; 6. Lynn Valk (NED, FAN), 58 p.; 7. Britt Jans-Beken (NED, KTM), 52 p.; 8. Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), 50 p.; 9. Nancy van de Ven (NED, YAM), 42 p.; 10. Giorgia Blasigh (ITA, KTM), 42 p.


WMX Race two

WMX Race one

Credit: Words by Catherine Pattison

Photos: MXGP


March 27, 2023: There was simply no stopping Kawasaki ace Cody Cooper as he produced another startling performance in this year’s senior New Zealand Motocross Championships, which wrapped up at Taupo on Sunday.

They say age is just a number and that may be true, but this is traditionally a young person’s game and a 39-year-old winning titles at the pinnacle of the sport is truly outstanding.

The multi-time former national champion from Papamoa reckons he’s loving the sport more and more with each passing year and, since his transition to the high-profile Bridgestone Kawasaki Racing Team, he believes he’s going even faster than before.

That’s probably true too, because he won the MX2 (250cc) title at the weekend with a race to spare and, with that, he handed Kawasaki its first New Zealand motocross title in 16 years, when Rotorua’s Michael Phillips won the MX2 (250cc) crown for the brand in 2007.

Cooper had been an extremely busy man during his build-up to the 2023 nationals, starting off by winning the premier MX1 class at the MX Fest extravaganza at Taupo’s 2022-23 season opener in late October.

He backed that up by easily winning his men’s 35-39 year’s class at the 2022 New Zealand Veterans’ and Women’s Motocross Championships near Cambridge just a week later.

Cooper then dominated the Waikato Motocross Championships series in December, this time opting to also race a 250cc version of his four-stroke Kawasaki and this time he comfortably won both the MX1 and MX2 categories.

That’s a mighty impressive build-up to the 2023 senior New Zealand Motocross Championships and he completed his mission at the weekend, winning the national MX2 class title with a race to spare at the final round in Taupo on Sunday.

He actually tackled the MX1 class as well, but Cooper was forced here to settle for the third step on the podium, beaten to the chequered flag in that class by Mangakino’s Maximus Purvis and Auckland’s Hamish Harwood.

The vastly-experienced Cooper was one of only three riders brave enough to enter more than one class this season – with Harwood and Auckland-based former Taihape man Hayden Smith the other two riders to do so – and Cooper was a strong contender in the MX1 class throughout the series.

“It was definitely satisfying to wrap up the MX2 title with a race to spare, because this meant I could rest, not have to line up for the final MX2 race, and save a bit of energy for the final MX1 race,” said Cooper.

He had played it smart in that penultimate race of the series.

“I had a reasonable start until everyone crashed in front of me and I got bottled up in the mess. I settled down to battle back through the field.

“I was keeping an eye on where (main MX2 class rival) Hayden Smith was and knew that, in the position he was on the track ahead of me, in third or fourth I think, I could afford to finish seventh or eighth and still seal the title.”

Cooper finished fifth and the title was his.

“I was feeling quite fatigued this weekend, especially with doing two classes and it being back-to-back racing on Saturday and Sunday. But both bikes handle like a dream and that helps immensely.”

If Cooper returns for another crack at winning the MX1 and MX titles next season, or perhaps if rising young Kawasaki stars such as Te Puke’s Flynn Watts, Pukekawa’s Tyler Brown, Palmerston North’s Luka Freemantle or Opunake woman Taylar Rampton also break through to join him at the top of a nationals podium, Kawasaki could come close to reliving the famous “Green Sweep” that the brand had celebrated back in 1984 when it scooped up the titles in every senior championship category available.

Meanwhile, Harwood wrapped up the 125cc class title on Sunday and Mount Maunganui’s Roma Edwards won the women’s championship class.

2023 New Zealand Motocross Championships:

  • Round one: February 12 – South Otago (at Balclutha);
  • Round two: February 26 – Rotorua (including women’s nationals);
  • Round three: March 19 – Hastings (including women’s nationals);
  • Round four: March 26 – Taupo (including women’s nationals).


Credit: Words by Andy McGechan,

Keep up to date with the team on Facebook and Instagram. @BridgestoneKawasakiRaceTeam

First Solo Jet Ski Lap of New Zealand Ever Completed

February 28, 2023: The first man to lap mainland Australia and Tasmania, solo on a Jet Ski has completed the Australasian trifecta by circumnavigating New Zealand.

Lindsay Warner (64) tackled cyclones and rough weather conditions during the lap making the feat all the more impressive.

The adventurer and real-estate agent/auctioneer based in Adelaide took 9 days on the water to lap the South Island and another 12 days on the water to lap the North Island.

The mission started on the 14th of January and was completed on 21 February 2023. The remaining days off the water used to maintain equipment and ride out cyclone weather.

Warner’s choice of equipment was the same 2017 Kawasaki Jet Ski Ultra LX he used on the Australian laps. A backup 2022 Jet Ski Ultra LX was taken by his 2-support road crew but was untouched for the journey.

Lindsay Warner’s longest day on the water was during the first leg of the South Island where he travelled 375km on the West Coast. The last 3 days of the journey required a marathon effort to cover a total of 850km (305km, 320km and 220km) in order to beat another major weather pattern.

To read more on Lindsay Warner’s adventure, visit

Photo Credit: Images courtesy of Lindsay Warner