Motorcycle journalist Dennis Stapleton entered the Hattah Desert Race to file a feature story for USA publication, Motocross Action. The experienced motocross rider teamed up with Mallee Motorcycles and took on the Veteran’s class for riders aged 35-44 years aboard a Motul Pirelli Sherco 450 SEF-R and walked away with the class win.
With minimal time on the Sherco to prepare for the iconic desert race, Stapleton quickly adapted to the conditions and relished in the fast and ferocious format.
“The first lap was quite crazy,” said Stapelton. “I’m not used to riding in dust like that and people were blowing by me on the fast straightaways. I just kept my pace which was nice and mellow and by lap-four I ended up catching up to a lot of those guys that passed me. I pitted every lap and some of them got by me again but towards the end a bunch of those guys gave up.”
Stapleton worked his way into the race and battled the track and the competition in good spirit. A torn jersey bearing the scars of a close encounter with the Mallee scrub.
“One of the trees got the better of me out there,” Stapleton continued. “The race was intense. I’ve been fortunate enough to race all around the world including some beach races, some GNCC and the dust here was crazy. But I got going okay and half way through I got a little cocky thinking it wasn’t too bad but the last two laps I suffered. Hattah is brutal and can catch you off guard quickly.”
“I didn’t wear a hydration pack. I don’t even own one. Last time I wore one it made my back sore and rubbed me raw so every lap I came in and grabbed a goo and some juice to go. I was patient in my pit stops to drink a lot and it worked out great.”
“The crew from Mallee Motorcycles were awesome the way they looked after me. The bike worked really well. It handled great and the brakes were great, and I had no issues the whole race. It’s awesome to get the Vets Class win on the Sherco and I’d love to come back next year and do it again.”
Stapleton returned to the USA today where he will file a feature story on the Hattah Desert Race for an upcoming issue of Motocross Action Magazine.