Motul Pirelli Sherco Factory Team rider Wil Ruprecht is lining up for his first attempt at the Hattah Desert Race this weekend. The 17 year old rider from Taree, NSW will take on the gruelling 8-lap cross country race held south of Mildura aboard a Sherco 450SEF-R.
Ruprecht will be the lone Motul Pirelli Sherco Factory Team rider at Hattah with Justin Carafa recovering from recent thumb surgery. Motorcycle Land Ballarat Sherco rider Sam Davie will also sit out Hattah this weekend as he continues his recovery from injuries sustained at the Finke Desert Race in Alice Springs earlier in June.
The Hattah is known as an extremely physically demanding race held on a 38km sand track that asks a lot of the rider and the bike. Snaking over sand dunes and weaving between Mallee scrub and stretching along fast open crop paddocks, Hattah is not for the faint hearted.
“I haven’t raced Hattah before but I know it’s going to be tough,” Ruprecht said as he finalised preparations earlier this week. “With that in mind and to prepare as best I could I’ve been testing with my mechanic, Dave Suter, this week. The track we’ve been riding on is as gnarly as it gets and we’ve got the bike sitting really well.
“It’s a shame Sam Davie is injured but he’s been on hand with testing to show me some desert tricks of the trade. I dropped lap times just from Sam’s advice which is great.”
Ruprecht will be a clear favourite for the Under-19 class and will be considered a contender for the outright honours.
“Wil is a fit and strong rider and we’ve built him a bike that’s capable of winning,” said Sherco Team mechanic, Dave Suter. “We just need to maximise opportunities with slick pit stops and keeping Wil comfortable when the track gets rough late in the race. I’m really excited to see Wil in action.”
The Hattah Desert Race kicks off with scrutineering and bike display at Quandong Park, Red Cliffs on Friday afternoon at 4.00pm. The qualifying prologue is held 9.30am Saturday and the main race from 9.30am Sunday at Boonoonar Road, Colignan.