The annual Hattah Desert Race dished up more action than a Hollywood movie with the highs and lows of a stock exchange for the Motul Pirelli Sherco Off-Road Team.
Staged near Mildura in the north west of Victoria, the Hattah Desert Race kicked off with the official prologue on Saturday morning. Kate Norman checked the clock in 11th position aboard her Motul Pirelli Sherco 300 SEF-R in the highly competitive Ladies Class.
Later in the day Andy Wilksch let fly on the Motul Pirelli Sherco 450 SEF-R posting the 11th fastest time outright. Andy’s lightning speed ensuring he started the main race in 11th position.
The frantic first few laps at Hattah is always action-packed and this year was no different as the top contenders jostled for position in the gruelling 8-lap race. With 38km of fast sand tracks, snaking Mallee scrub sections and deep sand dunes there’s no room for error and Wilksch settled in comfortably holding down 10th place.
Norman set about riding clean laps and picked off a couple of riders to hold down 9th position in the Ladies Class. Norman maintained the pace and crossed the line in 9th position.
“I’m really happy with my result,” stated Norman. “I had an absolute ball. The Team was a great help. The bike was perfect, I love that thing. I just feel so comfortable on it. It didn’t matter how rough the track got, it could handle it all. It’s definitely the best bike I have ridden.”
Wilksch encountered the highly unusual misfortune of a minor rear axle issue that caused him to lose four positions during a swift pit stop for repairs on lap six. Back on track and focussed on pegging back a couple of positions Wilksch was caught out on a kicker bump on lap-7 that sent him off track and off the bike sailing into the air. Battered and bruised Wilksch remounted and pushed on to finish the race in 24th position.
“It was a tough day with a few mistakes from me that cost us in the end,” Offered Wilksch. “The 450 was fast and I was really enjoying the race. It was still a un weekend and I’ll be back to do it all again next year.”
Despite the 24th place result, Motul Pirelli Sherco Team manager Dave Suter was positive about the Team’s performance.
“Kate rode awesome,” said Suter. “She was consistent and loved the bike and 9th place is great. I’m disappointed for Andy. He was riding great and the bike was solid. That 450 more than holds its own in the desert. Andy was racing comfortably in really fast company and luckily, he’s not injured. As for the bike, well we weren’t pushing back to the pits like la lot of other riders. He finished which shows how determined he is and how good the Sherco 450 can be.”