Grabham and Bewley take 1-2 finish for Motorex KTM Off Road Racing at Finke
For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, 14 June 2011
Motorex KTM Off Road Racing’s Ben Grabham has clinched a fourth victory in the 36th running of the Finke Desert Race in the Northern Territory over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend of 11-13 June.
Grabham rode his KTM 450 SX-F to the win in the two-day race from Alice Springs to Finke and back, crossing the line in 3:58.59sec after a gruelling journey of over 450-kilometres.
The 29-year-old from Bathurst in New South Wales led the field into Finke after Sunday’s action, but not before he had a duel in the desert with teammate and last year’s winner Toby Price.
Price, who topped the Prologue as fastest qualifier on Saturday, was ruled out with a technical problem at the 190-kilometre mark of the race, dashing his hopes of a second straight win.
That left Grabham to comfortably race ahead at the front, while the team’s Finke debutant Jarrod Bewley finished an impressive second with a time of 3:59.37sec.
What made Grabham’s win even more incredible was the fact that he sustained a fractured hand on day one of the race, battling through the pain in a bid to repay the Motorex KTM Off Road Racing team for their efforts in the lead-up to the event.
“I knew it was going to be a tough race with Toby after the Prologue on Saturday,” Grabham reflected. “We were having a good battle, swapping positions at least four times in the first 10 kilometres. We were pretty much side-by-side until around 160 kays, when I had a crash and injured my hand. That left Toby out in front, but a little further down the track he had his own dramas and that put me back in front again.
“My hand was sore when we got to Finke, but I brought it home in one piece and I was just so happy to win with KTM taking a 1-2 finish. After last year it was good to get back up front and take that number one plate again. You just can’t take anything for granted at the Finke.”
Bewley was also satisfied with his first outing at Finke, now focused on returning and battling for victory alongside his KTM teammates in the years to come.
“The team put a lot of effort into this event, a lot of preparation, so to come off with a good result for them was really good,” Bewley commented. “It was a lot of fun up here, a great event and it actually wasn’t as scary as I thought it might be – you run your own pace and it’s a good race to be a part of.”
While Price was disappointed with his non-finish at Finke this season, he’s determined to return next year and hopes to regain the title from his teammate, Grabham.
“There’s not much that you can do about it, but we were doing well up until the point where I went out of the race,” Price said. “I’m happy for the team to take a 1-2 finish though and I’ll be back next year for sure to see what I can do – see if I can get that number one plate back!”
Fourth factory KTM entrant Brad Williscroft, who is also the team manager of the off-road effort, returned to his racing roots over the weekend for a solid sixth overall, taking out Class 7 for this year’s running of the event. He was pleased for the team to take out the prestigious event once again.
“It’s been a really big team effort, the boys – both mechanics and riders – put in a huge effort this year,” Williscroft commented. “To come away with another 1-2 for KTM, three years in a row now, is an awesome feeling for everybody involved in the team. We couldn’t have done it without the mechanics, who have been working until midnight every night making sure everything is right.
“Unfortunately Toby had a mechanical, but he was leading after battling with Ben on Sunday and it was shaping up to be a good race. You can’t say enough about the heart of Grabbo, it was an unbelievable ride by him with a broken hand.
“We were really happy with the way Jarrod rode, it just showed how much he learnt off Grabbo and Toby in the pre-running. He could be a real threat for the win in the next year or two. For me to get a top 10 with the field being so fast these days was a good result also. I didn’t ride over my head, so I’m happy to win my class and finish sixth Outright.”
The Motorex KTM Off Road Racing team will now turn its attention to the Hattah Desert Race on 2-3 July, with KTM Australia becoming the naming-rights sponsor of the event and looking to defend its podium sweep from one year ago.
Visit www.ktm.com.au on the web for further information on the Motorex KTM Off Road Racing team, as well as KTM’s full model line-up of off-road and road motorcycles available for 2011.