KTM Australia PR:
2009 Finke Desert Race
Team: KTM, HSE Group, Motorex Oils, KTM dealership Race Motorcycles
Dates: 5-8 June, 2009
Racing format: 460km sprint race from Alice Springs to Finke and back
Rider Class Bike Home Town State Event result
Ben Grabham Class 2 KTM 505 XC-F Bathurst NSW 1st
Brad Williscroft Class 7 KTM 505 XC-F Helensburgh NSW 2nd
DESCRIPTION OF TRACK:
– rough and challenging
– ripped up
“This was my toughest ever Finke Desert Race, and the most rewarding win,” said Grabham. “It was my first Finke on the KTM, and my first Finke where I had my family all attend, so that kept me on my toes. Things started well for me at prologue when I qualified second, which is the best result I have ever secured in prologue. This put me on the first minute to take off, and I haven’t done that before either, which gave me extra confidence. It just proved to me how suited the KTM 505 XC-F was for me, and for this race.
“Once the race down to Finke got underway, I took the lead by the first turn, and didn’t look back. I was just focusing on the terrain ahead of me, and was really surprised that when I got into Finke I was seven minutes ahead of my nearest competitor. That was massive for me, because in previous years second has only been a few seconds behind me. So this was another confidence booster, but I knew it wasn’t over yet, and I still had to be on the pace heading back to Alice Springs.
“It turns out I had a cruisy run home, everything just went really well for me, and I didn’t feel like I was riding that fast, it all just came natural to me, and the KTM. When I heard Wonks (Brad Williscroft) was in second, I was stoked because together we had put in a solid team effort to ensure we were on the gas for Finke.
“I won this year’s Finke by a good margin, and secured my third consecutive win for the event and my first win with KTM, I couldn’t be happier!”
“In prologue I was fourth fastest, and my main goal was to place in the top ten to set myself up for a good start, said Williscroft. “My prologue position got me to start with the front runners, and even though I rode my own race, I moved up a position to ride into Finke in third.
“I had a couple of dramas with arm pump early on in the race, but I was still really happy with my times on the KTM.
“On the way back to Alice Springs, Caleb Auricht took off second, and he was one minute and 15 seconds in front of me, so he was my immediate benchmark. I also had Chad Billet one minute behind me, so I had to go hard. All I wanted to do was get into second to get 1-2 for KTM, with Grabbo, and me both on the podium.
“I caught Caleb in the whoop section, and he had a bike drama which gave me an advantage, and I quickly moved into second. Once I was in second I was charging harder, and then some challenges struck with a flat tyre about the 120km mark. I then had to ride with caution for around 40kms to the second fuel stop, in hope that the tyre didn’t come off the rim.
“When I pulled into the second fuel stop Chad Billett ended up passing me, but once the tyre was changed I passed him back within 15kms to regain second, which is where I rode home across the finish line.
“I’m stoked that Grabham and I got KTM one and two on the podium, as a racer, and team manager you couldn’t ask for better results. After all the preparation, pre-training, and testing we put in I feel our results are deserving, and we’re really thankful to everyone who pulled in to help us out.