Kate Norman is no stranger to adventure on two wheels. The Victorian-based veterinarian has raced a variety of off-road race events including the Australian Off-Road Championship and the Hattah Desert Race but come this Queen’s Birthday long weekend, Norman will line up for first attempt at the Finke Desert Race.
“I just can’t wait to experience the event and to finish it will be an achievement,” said Norman. “Sand is not my forte. I grew up riding hard pack and I might race sand maybe once a year, so just to finish Finke will be a great experience for me.”
Norman will race a Sherco 300 SEF-R in what is billed as Australia’s Greatest Desert Race, starting and finishing in Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.
The Motul Pirelli Sherco Team rider will race with over 550 other riders for 230km south from Alice Springs to the community of Apatula on the Finke River. The course twists and turns its way over sand dunes, clay pans and rocky outcrops where riders can reach speeds well in excess of 150kph. Riders camp the night in the desert before racing the return journey on the same course 230km back to Alice Springs.
“I have the best set up bike for this type of event for me,” Norman continued. “The power and handling of the 300SEF-R is perfect for me. The Sherco is a compact bike but it packs a punch that can get you out of trouble in testing conditions. It’s a really stable bike and handles so well so I am confident in my choice of equipment. My team mate Nathan Trigg has raced Finke a number of times and has been guiding me with useful tips and information so I feel confident in taking on this great event.”
Despite tackling Finke for the first time, Norman is expected to thrive in the tough racing conditions.
“Kate is an adventure seeker,” said Sherco Australia’s Stephen Tuff. “She’s a tough character and can work her way through adversity. She recently completed an 8-hour cross country race in technical and difficult terrain. While the unique format and almost indescribably wild conditions of the Finke Desert Race will be new to her, I expect she will finish the race with a smile. It’s just how Kate is.”
The Finke Desert Race commences Saturday, June 9 with a prologue to determine competitor starting order for the main race. Race day-1 begins Sunday June 10 with the final day of racing Monday June 11.