27 October 2022
Kawasaki’s triple World Women’s Motocross Champion Courtney Duncan treasures racing on home soil and she is excited to compete at the 2022 Kawasaki New Zealand Vets & Women’s Nationals, this weekend.
It’s been a long time since she lined up at this event’s start gate – about eight years by her reckoning – and the Dunedin-based, international star is looking forward to representing her brand on her green machine KX250.
Kawasaki New Zealand is the nationals’ naming rights sponsor and the event will be run by the Cambridge Motocross Club. The venue Skyline MX (205 Oliver Road, Te Miro), near Cambridge, is on private property and the track offers almost 360-degree views out towards the Kaimai ranges.
Three-time World Women’s Motocross Champion Courtney Duncan delighted fans when she spent the weekend at the recent KawiGirls Campout in Huntly.
Kawasaki New Zealand will fly Duncan and her mechanic Grant Cuthbertson north to attend the event, while her motorbike – kitted out with the familiar setup she’s accustomed to in Europe – is being driven up from her hometown for the race. A spare bike will also be available for Duncan.
The brand will set up a large pit area welcoming Kawasaki vets and women from around the country, including several South Island dealers (Dean Bond from Powerzone in Balclutha, plus Mark Howden and Justin Shaw from Motoworx Winton) who will be making the long trek up to Cambridge, to be a part of the action.
Duncan says her ride for the weekend is “pretty close to a stock cage 250 with some suspension on it and my graphics.”
Her main competition will come from visiting Australian Honda factory rider Taylah McCutcheon, who dominated the Senior Women’s class at last weekend’s MX Fest in Taupo; current British Women’s Champ Roma Edwards, of Mount Maunganui (Honda) and reigning New Zealand women’s champion Hamilton’s Amie Roberts (Yamaha).
“It’ll be cool racing in NZ with the girls. They are all racing well at the moment. It’s been a while since I competed against them, except for Roma, who I raced at the worlds in Spain. This weekend should be some fun and hopefully we have a good turnout,” Duncan says.
Kawasaki New Zealand’s Managing Director Shane Verhoeven says the brand is “excited to host Courtney at the Kawasaki New Zealand Vets & Women’s Nationals.”
“It’s a unique opportunity for New Zealanders to see our three-time World Champ race at a national event. It’s a rare occurrence considering her busy schedule and sponsor commitments.”
“We have a great Kawasaki line-up with Courtney’s stablemates Bridgestone Kawasaki Race Team’s Zara Gray, whose hometown is Cambridge and KawiGirls founder, Hamilton’s Mikayla Rowe, both entered. I expect the atmosphere to be electric with the profile of women’s motocross on the rise.”
Bridgestone Kawasaki Race Team’s rider Zara Gray, of Cambridge, will race at this weekend’s 2022 New Zealand Vets & Women’s Nationals.
KawiGirls founder, Hamilton’s Mikayla Rowe, will also represent the Kawasaki brand this weekend.
“We’ve provided Courtney with the tools to win, through ensuring her bike and mechanic make the trip up from the South Island to support her bid for the NZ title,” Verhoeven says.
This weekend provides some key track time for Duncan as part of her off-season.
“We’re putting programmes in place both off and on the bike that will hopefully be a bit more effective for the 2023 world champs. Obviously, this year was tough, which exposed me to a few weaknesses that I need to be better at mastering and I’m currently working on that,” she says.
This time of year, I have time to give back to the schools and local events like the KawiGirls Campout, plus do a bit for the industry and Kawasaki. All in all, I’m just enjoying my time at home before the season kick starts again,” Duncan wraps up.
More details about the 2022 Kawasaki NZ Vets & Women’s Nationals can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/cambridgeNZmx
Credit: Words by Catherine Pattison
Photos: Kawasaki NZ