The twenty-five-year-old from Dunedin in New Zealand went into the final round holding a sixteen-point lead in the series but she was also carrying a painful injury after suffering a broken finger last weekend in Spain. Gritting her teeth she earnt third-choice of gate during morning Qualifying, just two-thirds of a second off pole, but was pushed wide at the first turn in race one and then got tagged from behind at turn three to lose further ground on the leaders. She remained calm through the always hectic opening lap to settle into an initial eighth place before starting to pick off the girls ahead of her one-by-one. After four laps she was already third and, with her closest rival at the start of the day also encountering misfortune on the opening lap, the successful title defence was looming closer as she set her sights on the remaining challenger in the points chase. Secure in the knowledge that she did not need to risk a pass to secure her three-peat world title she stayed in her rival’s wheel tracks whilst ensuring that there was no renewed threat from behind to take the chequered flag third and set the seal on the individual WMX world title for the third consecutive season. The post-race celebrations could begin but, professional as ever, the world number one and the Bike It MTX Kawasaki team were soon preparing diligently for race two as there was still one more job to be done. And the champion did it in style! Clearly determined to end the season on yet another high Duncan and her KX250 swept through turn one in second place; after a careful opening lap on a track still slippery from pre-race watering she built a stunning pass for the lead already on lap two and raced eight seconds clear for her fifth moto win of the season. This was not quite enough to clinch a fourth overall GP victory from six but, more importantly, it clinched the FIM Manufacturers’ world title for Kawasaki against numerically-superior opposition for the second time in three years.
The partnership with Kawasaki has been an outstanding success from day one. Since going Green together with Steve Dixon’s team and Kawasaki Motors Europe in 2019 the dynamic Kiwi has not only won three individual world titles and led Kawasaki to two Manufacturers’ titles she has won ten GPs out of sixteen and taken the chequered flag first in nineteen motos of thirty-two, only finishing outside the top three on four occasions. Even more remarkably this success has been achieved riding KX250 machinery direct from the production line bar a handful of after-market cycle parts and the Green bikes have a 100% clean vest with not a single mechanical failure throughout the three seasons of racing.
Courtney Duncan: “It’s been an unbelievable day to win my third world title; words can’t describe it ! I was pretty happy with my riding today considering the injuries I picked up last week but I came here with a sixteen-point lead and knew what I had to do. I saw Kiara down on the first lap; I knew I didn’t need to win the first moto so I rode a little conservative to get the job done early and then could go out and win the final race to end the season with a bang. It was nice to clinch the title with a race to go; the competition is tough, we only have six races and the earlier you can win it the better. This year’s been really tough. We’ve had our ups-and-downs but I’ve made the best out of every situation and fought for every single point. What a feeling to do it three years in a row with the same team and the same brand; massive thanks to Steve, the entire team and Kawasaki! I wish I could say I was going home to New Zealand soon now that the season’s over but it’s difficult to travel at the moment so I might be a Brit for a few more months (laughs).“
Amandine Verstappen ended the season with her best result of the series aboard the 9MM Energy Drink BUD Racing Kawasaki. Seventh in Qualifying, she swept through turn one second in the first moto and only surrendered places to the title aspirants as he came home a secure fourth. Forced wide at turn two in the second moto, she moved forward from the edge of the top ten to take the chequered flag eighth, enough to secure fifth on the day and confirm sixth place in the series points standings.
Amandine Verstappen: “The first race was perfect; I got a great start in second position and raced most of the race with Courtney. I was happy with my lap times but the last few laps were physically demanding! The second start was not so good and I didn’t felt so comfortable; we know what to work on for next season. It’s not the first time we have raced at Arco; I know this track and I like it. It’s good now to have a break; we had many races in a row in recent weeks and we had to adapt to the situation."