The December 12 event celebrates New Zealand’s motocross women and the country’s top female riders will ensure the racing at the Rotorua Motorcycle Club is action-packed. They include Hamilton riders KawiGirls ambassador Mikayla Rowe, who was fifth in the 2020 New Zealand Women’s Motocross Championship and second at the TT Nationals, plus current national women’s motocross champion Amie Roberts.
Kawasaki KawiGirls Kings & Queens Motocross organiser Nick Lang says the impetus to run this debut event came from seeing the Go Girl Racing Australia team make a huge effort to come to New Zealand to support major motocross events last year.
“I was so impressed by the way they got in behind their girls and how encouraging their team was to our own female riders. When you see the number of girls racing in New Zealand, especially in mini and junior motocross categories, it seemed a logical step to give them something they can call their own.”
“It’s important that parents and supporters of women’s motocross have an opportunity to showcase the talent we have coming through the ranks and to give them some form of recognition for the passion and determination they have for the sport,” Lang adds.
It wasn’t hard to convince two of New Zealand’s most high-achieving riders to attend.
Returning to New Zealand after recently defending her 2019 world title Duncan, who races for the British DRT Kawasaki team, is looking forward to hanging out at the Kawasaki KawiGirls Kings & Queens Motocross.
“It’s cool that Kawasaki is getting behind an event for females. It gives them a platform to showcase themselves and it’s a great way of getting more girls involved,” she says.
Lang, who is the father of two competitive motocross-riding daughters, was encouraged when one of the event’s first entrants was Archer.
“Although she was on the other side of the world racing when we launched the event, she was still quick to say she wanted to be a part of it,” Lang says.
A foot injury sustained in her final GNCC round won’t stop Archer turning up to race in December.
“I’ve flown home and will be spending the next two weeks in isolation, so by the time that’s done I’m hoping my foot will be all healed, as that will be six weeks since breaking it. Yamaha will give me a brand new 2021 YZ250FX to train on, so I’ll be riding that at the KawiGirls event,” Archer says.
Although it is sponsored by Kawasaki, the event is well and truly open to riders on all brands of motocross bikes. The boys don’t need to stay on the side lines either and can choose to ride in the mixed support classes.
While the idea behind the event is to let the girls have their moment in the sun in a sport that is traditionally male-dominated, there has been “really encouraging feedback and entries from the junior boys, which shows how much respect they have for their female peers. That’s a real positive,” Lang says.
He believes the depth of talent in New Zealand’s women’s motocross scene is encouraging for the sport.
“At the younger end we are seeing a strong number of girls participating – Zara Gray, Ticayla Manson and Karaitiana Horne are all incredibly talented. Some of the most determined and exciting racing is in the junior women’s class, as the numbers are now there to create competition between the girls and if we can keep them in the sport and support them, they all have a bright future,” he says.
“The success that Courtney has had recently gives the girls the self-belief that they can achieve greatness in the sport they love and I think in the coming years we should see the rise of a few more stars,” he adds.
Duncan says: “It’s awesome to see so many girls riding. When I started racing there were very few girls in the sport. It has been cool for me to show that you can be a girl but still be successful in motocross.”
Long-time motocross commentator Neil Ritchie, who will be on the microphone at the KawiGirls event was thrilled to see 21 girls entered in the recent New Zealand Mini Motocross Championships, which demonstrated the upswell in female riders competing.
“Having Rachael and Courtney getting mainstream media coverage gives the nation’s girls an understanding that motorbike racing is not just a pastime, or hobby, it’s a fair dinkum physical sport. Athleticism and balance on a bike are where the girls come into their own.”
“It’s pretty special that we’ve got this calibre of women racing across the globe, nationally, and at the KawiGirls event next month,” Ritchie says.
Lang thanked Kawasaki New Zealand, Motorcycling New Zealand and the event sponsors for getting the KawiGirls Kings & Queens Motocross on the calendar.
“It has also been encouraging to have the backing of Josh Coppins, Ben Townley, Daryl Hurley and Shayne King – four of our most respected figures in our sport – who are all extremely supportive of both this event and women’s motocross as a whole.”
General Manager of Kawasaki New Zealand Mike Cotter says: “It is incredibly positive to see the industry join us in supporting females at the KawiGirls Kings and Queens Motocross. Having Courtney attend the race meeting is truly inspiring for her fans and up-and-coming racers. After successfully defending her world title, it will be a special opportunity for her supporters to be able to connect with her on home soil.”
“For the first time in memory, this event shines the spotlight on women’s motocross which is often overshadowed by other divisions in the sport. I would like to thank Courtney, Nick, the event organisers and the Rotorua Motorcycle Club for making this happen and encourage riders and spectators to attend what is sure to be a spectacle in our sport,” Cotter concludes.
For more information and to enter visit Kawasaki KawiGirls Kings & Queens Motocross
Event organiser Nick Lang can be contacted at: Langmx@hotmail.com
PHOTO CREDIT MXGP
WORDS BY CATHERINE PATTISON