Kiwi motocross sensation Courtney Duncan is returning to the Women’s Motocross World Championship (WMX) where she will be racing for the highly-experienced British Kawasaki squad BIKE IT Dixon Racing Team (DRT), run by Steve Dixon.
Duncan will race a KX250 alongside male teammates Darian Sanayei from the USA and Brazilian Gustavo Pessoa. Run by a revered name in motocross circles Steve Dixon, the switch to DRT marks a fresh start for the talented 23-year-old, who hails from Dunedin, as she embarks on her fourth tilt at bringing the elusive world title home.
“I’m super-excited about this opportunity that has come up to sign with the Bike It DRT Kawasaki race team. It’s a new team and a new bike to start out the new year. I feel like it’s going to be a good year for me, and I believe DRT will put me in a good position to win the championship. A fresh start is what I needed, and I couldn’t be more excited than to do that with Kawasaki. Kawasaki New Zealand have also come on board to support me at home, for which I am also very thankful,” Duncan says.
She has been a major protagonist in the series since her debut three years ago, claiming an amazing seven GP victories and fourteen heat wins from just fifteen starts, within that short space of time.
DRT team owner Steve Dixon says: “It’s ten years since our team was involved in the Women’s World Championship with Tarah Gieger, when she even helped Puerto Rico to qualify for the Motocross of Nations, but we have always maintained a keen interest in the series. It was actually a friend who mentioned to me that Courtney was looking around for a competitive ride in this year’s GPs. It took some thinking about, but Kawasaki were keen, especially since their previous champion Livia Lancelot has retired. I confidently expect Courtney to bring Kawasaki the world title.”
Duncan has been back on the bike for the past six weeks after an extensive rehabilitation programme to heal a ligament injury in her foot. It caused her to miss the final two rounds of the 2018 WMX, where she held a dominant 21-point advantage over her nearest rival. Duncan hadwon five out of the eight WMX races she contested throughout Europe last year.
She has had a string of bad fortune over her three WMX campaigns.
In 2017, she was winning the second-to-last race of the season when she swerved to avoid a cluster of five fallen riders blocking the track and crashed into a fence – recovering to finish sixth. The race jury initially ruled the results would be awarded on the placings from the lap before the track was blocked, when Duncan was in front. But this decision was then changed and the results at the end of the race were reinstated, meaning she did not have enough points to win the championship.
She went out and won the season’s last race by 46 seconds, finishing third in the WMX – only three points away from first.
In 2016, while leading her debut championship – after winning three of her first four races – she crashed into an errant photographer, who was standing in the wrong place on a jump. She injured herself badly and missed out on two rounds and consequently the title.
Duncan flew out recently for her new base in England, where she is preparing to ride her Kawasaki KZ250F in the five-round WMX series.
“I want to say a big thanks to everyone that has stuck by me and continues to support me. Let’s make 2019 a good one,” she says.
Steve Guttridge of Kawasaki Motors Europe concludes: “The FIM and Youthstream provide a great platform for the women to show off their skills and talent at the highest level within the MXGP environment and so we are very much looking forward to welcoming Courtney into the DRT team in time for round one of the series at Valkenswaard. It is a great opportunity for us as Kawasaki to return to the Women’s World MX series and for sure we will again be at the sharp end with Courtney! We believe that she will be a perfect match for our KX250 and the experienced UK-based MX2 team will give her the base to challenge for the 2019 WMX title.”