The 2019 Hattah Desert Race will go down in history as one of the most challenging, yet shortest races since it began. Heavy rain and hail pounded the event shortly after the scheduled eight-lap race commenced. The sheer volume of water restricted emergency vehicle access and the decision was made to cut the event short to four-laps.
The Motul Pirelli Sherco duo of Andy Wilksch and Nathan Trigg began the Hattah Desert Race weekend in good form. Trigg posting the sixth fastest qualifying time and Wilksch just missing out on the top ten in eleventh. When the main race began and the heavens opened up, both riders put their 500 SEF Factory models to task and while mayhem spread through the field.
At the completion of the fourth lap, Wilksch had powered his way to sixth with Trigg close behind in seventh. It was a solid performance by both riders in incredibly wild conditions.
“Our weekend came together pretty good in the end,” said Wilksch. “The race was short and sharp in comparison to what we prepared for and the 500 Factory definitely played a part in our success. The extra power made it easy and our bikes didn’t wear out. Reliability was key in those conditions. Our bikes are strong and reliable and with the track deteriorating so rapidly each lap, the power of the 500 let me make passes down the straights. The bikes just ate the conditions with ease. I’ve never been able to crack the top ten at Hattah before so to get sixth feels like a bonus.”
Wilksch and Trigg both ran the Pirelli Scorpion MX Soft rear tyre which Wilksch claims provided perfect drive in the sand but also through the sections where the track was covered in water.
“The track was like a river in places and that tyre just kept us moving forward. I had a couple of crashes which was my own fault, but when I was up-right, the 500 was flying.”
Always a favourite with the Hattah fans, Nathan Trigg was relishing the challenge and although suffering a crash while avoiding a lapped rider, Trigg thoroughly enjoyed the experience of a wet Hattah.
“I had a couple of stacks in the rain, but somehow I was having fun,” Trigg explained. “It was actually the most fun I’ve had at Hattah. I was hoping to qualify a bit higher up the order for a better starting position, but I still got going okay. The bike was awesome and really strong. It was just unreal, and I had a ball riding it. I didn’t even know what position I was in towards the end, but I rode the best I could and was happy to get a good result.”
With sixth and seventh positions outright, Wilksch and Trigg also recorded third and fourth place in the over 450cc four-stroke class on their Motul Pirelli Sherco 500 SEF Factory models.
Photography: John Pearson