Twenty years ago Rick Hall claimed his first Finke Desert Race win aboard a fire-breathing Honda CR 500R. The motor mechanic from Alice Springs had achieved a life-long dream but his best was yet to come. Hall dominated the 2002 Finke Desert Race in which was the final time a two-stoke claimed the famous race.
“I think I am very fortunate to have raced the big two-strokes,” said Hall. “They were tough bikes and we raced them on a fast track. As the four-stroke technology was refined it became easier to ride them faster and the four-stoke generation took over. The four-strokes these days are fast and somewhat more forgiving. These days at Finke the riders are on fast bikes on a tough track.”
Hall retired from serious Finke competition in 2006 with a young family and a business taking more of his time, not to mention years of racing the desert taking its toll on his body. However, the father of five children has remained close the event, mentoring riders and occasionally lining up for another go, just to satisfy the nagging urge for the ultimate thrill.
“Nothing will compare to winning Finke in 2002,” Hall explained. “I was fit, fast and was confident in the fact I knew I had done everything within my power to give it my best. But I still love riding and given that it’s 20 years since my first Finke win, I thought I’d have another go, just to have a bit of fun. I did contemplate riding one of my CR 500s but the chance to ride a Sherco was too good to pass up.”
Hall first rode a Sherco in 2018 during an adventure ride across the Simpson Desert, part of which incorporated a section of the Finke Desert Race track.
“The Sherco is a very nice bike,” Hall explained. “It’s got great suspension, a really nice frame and the engine makes more than enough power. It’s quite easy to ride and its very comfortable to ride on the fast, rough and varying terrain of the Finke track. The boys from the Sherco Team have built some very nice bikes for desert racing and I feel very fortunate to be given the opportunity to ride one of them. I’m really looking forward to being a part of the race again and enjoying a weekend of racing with my mates.”
The Finke Desert Race will be held in Alice Springs over the June long weekend, June 7 -10. Up to 600 riders will race a 226km track south from Alice Springs to Apatula on the ancient Finke River before racing back to Alice Springs the following day.
More information can be found at www.finkedesertrace.com.au