Motorcycle Land Ballarat Sherco rider Sam Davie was looking like a serious threat in the early stages of the 2016 Finke Desert Race. The 21 year old from Echuca was impressive in the official prologue on Saturday where he placed 11th on his Sherco 450SEF-R at the event’s start/finish line arena on the outskirts of Alice Springs.
The 8km prologue results determine the start order for day-1 of the main race on Sunday with the top 20 riders lining up two at a time and set off at one-minute intervals. Davie was pitted against Alice Springs local Luke Hayes for what would become an epic bar-to-bar battle.
The 226km course from Alice Springs to Apatula, on the Finke River is a mixture of extremely fast and incredibly rough terrain encompassing rocks, sand dunes, dry creek crossings and kilometres of huge corrugations that are big enough to swallow cars.
Davie locked himself into a battle with Hayes for much of the race and was comfortably holding down 8th position until his bike suffered a rear tyre puncture just 20km from the finish line on Day-1.
“I was as a good as home,” said a dejected Davie. “I rode on the flat tyre until it came away from the rim and exploded. My race was done, or so I thought.”
Davie made it to the finish of day-1 and repaired his bike in attempt to claw his way back into the field on Day-2 but was always going to have his work cut out for him starting in 270th place.
Disaster struck after just a few milometers when Davie crashed, knocking himself unconscious and was conveyed to Alice Springs hospital by air.
“I was having such a good run until my puncture,” Davie said. “Then to crash at Finke, I just feel so disappointed. I can’t even put into words how to best explain how upset and frustrated I am right now.”
Davie will return to Echuca in the coming days to begin rehabilitation.
Despite Davie’s unfortunate results there were a number of Sherco riders to complete the event in good spirits. Sherco Brand Manager, Stephen Tuff, was amongst them who raced a Powerhouse Motorcycles 300SEF-R in the Seniors class.
“It was a great event as always,” stated Tuff. “The track was incredibly challenging but my bike ran faultlessly and was a lot of fun to ride. Sam’s accident had us all worried but prior to that he proved just how capable the 450SEF-R is at the pointy end of the field. We’ll be back next year in a bigger and better way and with the valuable knowledge we gained this year we’ll be right in the mix. For me personally, this will probably be my last Finke. I’ve had 8 starts for 8 finishes now and with 18th in my class this time I might call it a day.”
“It was great to see a number of Sherco riders out there holding their own. Karl Pointu and Lindsay Bond from Rush Adventure Tours raced for the first time and Lindsay pulled a great result on a dead-stock 450SEF-R placing 10th in the Masters Class. Michael Clunie was ripping on the 300SE-R and came away with 4th place in the Seniors Class.”
Michael Clunie Sherco 300SE-R 67th
Lindsay Bond Sherco 450SEF-R 77th
Karl Borchard Sherco 450SEF-R 125th
Stephen Tuff Sherco 300SEF-R 190th
Karl Pointu Sherco 450SEF-R 274th