Motul Pirelli Sherco Team rider Andy Wilksch has entered the Finke Desert Race with intentions of being the fastest two-stroke mounted rider to cross the finish line in 2018. Wilksch will race the new Sherco 300 SE Factory Edition in what will be his first attempt at the Finke Desert Race.
“It’s a big ask of any rider to be in the pointy end of the field at the Finke Desert Race on their first attempt but Andy Wilksch is worth keeping an eye on,” stated Sherco Australia’s Stephen Tuff. “Andy is a humble young bloke that never talks himself up, but he’s fit, fast and level-headed. He’ll just get out there and ride his own race and we’re confident the results will come to him.”
Despite Class 1 at the Finke Desert Race being the former glory division for open-class big-bore two-strokes, the modern-day 300cc two-stroke machine has taken over this category and Wilksch could well become the first Sherco rider to win it.
“The glory days of 500cc two-strokes dominating Finke are long gone,” said Tuff. “The outright contenders tend to go for 450cc and 500cc four-stokes and with that in mind there’s no pressure for Andy to go out all guns blazing. He’s a great competitor, he knows how to race and despite not having raced Finke before we feel he and his Sherco are good enough to raise a few eyebrows. The 300 SE Factory Edition is a great machine and we feel it’s the best two-stroke off-road motorcycle in the field.”
Wilksch was recently selected to represent Australia in Chile later this year as part of the Australian Junior Trophy Team for riders under 23 at the International Six Day Enduro. The Victorian-based rider currently sits in 3rd place of the E3 Class in the Australian Off-Road Championship yet he remains realistic about his approach to racing Finke.
“I’m pretty excited to be honest, just to see what it’s all about up there in the desert,” said Wilksch. “My personal expectations are to be on the podium in Class 1 but first thing is first and that is to get to Finke and back in a clean fashion and to have some fun while I am doing it.”
“I’m prepared for the track to be hard work, especially after the track is torn up by the cars,” Wilksch continued. “From what I hear it gets quite choppy with square edges. But I’m pretty lucky to have the Sherco Team behind me. We’ve done some testing with Chad’s Off-Road Setups and have an excellent suspension and handling package. The 300 is light and loads of fun to ride. I think it will be fun out there in the desert.”
Wilksch currently holds the mantle of the fastest two-stoke in the 2018 Australian Off-Road Championship to-date and if recent form is any guide, he could be the fastest two-stroke rider at Finke this year.
“Andy is in form,” said Motul Pirelli Sherco Team manager Derek Grundy. “He’s very fit and the new 300 SE Factory Edition is an amazing bike. I feel Andy and this bike will surprise a lot of people come race day. He’ll quietly go about his business of getting through the race but the combination of his skill, his fitness and the superior package of the Sherco will see him do well.”
The Finke Desert Race commences Saturday, June 9 in Alice Springs, NT 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.