The Motul Pirelli Sherco Race Team will return to its normal two-rider roster for the prestigious Hattah Desert Race in Victoria from July 1-3.
The traditional follow-up to the Finke Desert Race will see Callum Norton (500 SEF Factory) and Jonte Reynders (450 SEF Factory) competing under the distributor-backed banner for the first time together since rounds three and four of the Australian Off-Road Championship in early April.
Since then, Norton’s taken the desert training and racing path – an untimely Finke DNF a bitter end to such a promising build-up – while Reynders has continued to cut a swathe through the Tasmanian off-road series on his 300 SE Factory two-stroke.
But all roads now lead to Hattah, about 70km south of Mildura, for one of the showpiece events on the national motorcycle racing calendar – and the quality of the field is testament to that.
Eight of the top 10 finishers in the 2021 Hattah Desert Race will return – and that includes Norton who finished in third place – as well as stars from Finke and big names like Daniel Sanders, Josh Green, Brodie Waters, Nick Waters and Todd Waters.
To that band of juggernauts you can also add three more Sherco stars: Nathan Trigg (Mallee Motorcycles) and Ryan Cossens and Lachy McClelland under the Tweaked Performance banner. All will ride the 500 SEF Factory.
Hattah will begin with a prologue on Saturday, July 2, which will determine the starting order for Sunday’s main fare: eight laps of an energy-sapping 39km circuit.
The ever-smiling Norton is firmly in countdown mode.
“After the disappointment of the DNF at Finke, my motivation to put on a great show at Hattah is huge,” said Norton.
“I’ve spent the last week based in Mildura riding as much I can, and I couldn’t be happier with my preparation. I’m feeling fit and strong, and the Sherco is humming.
“The quality of the field in 2022 is brilliant – even more depth than Finke at the sharp end – but that’s what motivates me: performing against the best and making the most of opportunities.
“I love Hattah and, as much as I cherish my third place in 2021, I’m aiming to go better in 2022. The event will be a cracker.”
Reynders will make his third Hattah start in 2022, coming off a dominant victory – and an excellent 13th outright – in the two-stroke open class in 2021.
But he’s changing strokes in 2022: the 300 SE Factory is resting and the 450 SEF Factory is his new desert date.
“I can’t wait to return to ride the 450 four-stroke at Hattah,” said Reynders. “I’ve been doing a lot of practice on it at home in Tasmania, and the last few rides have been very positive.
“It took some acclimatisation after jumping off the 300, which I was fully expecting, but now that I’ve sorted out a few things in my head I’m raring to go. And I won’t know myself at Hattah with all that bullocking four-stroke horsepower!
“My recent AORC and Tassie form has been really strong, so I’m heading to the event with plenty of optimism.”
Meanwhile, all the fast and furious action will begin on Friday night during Hattah scrutineering at Red Cliffs when Sherco Australia will host an electric balance bike demonstration.
Sherco’s EB16 Factory will be punted around by kids on a purpose-built circuit, complete with on-course commentary!
At the end of the night one of the kids will then win their very own EB16 Factory, presented by Norton and Reynders.
For more information on the electric bike balance demonstration, including registration details, click HERE
For more information on the 2022 Hattah Desert Race, including the best spectating locations, click HERE