The Finke Desert Race, held in the Northern Territory from the 8th – 11th June, is arguably the most demanding motorcycle race in the Southern Hemisphere. Honda’s new factory effort – Penrite Honda Racing Desert Team is more than ready for the challenge.
The track, with its changing terrain makes it uniquely difficult, but Honda’s veteran rider Jacob Smith knows this too well as he heads into what will be his 10th Finke. Smith will be competing in the open class (451cc and above)
“I have yet to win this race and its one we all dream of winning. We have done everything we can to have the best chance this year. To win Finke, you need more than talent – everything needs to go right. A win or a podium finish is the goal – noting that either will be a challenging goal to achieve, we are certainly going to do our best,” said Smith.
The team will compete in prologue on Saturday to determine their starting positions for race day on Sunday. First time racer Callum Norton hopes to take advantage of his motocross skills, competing in the 251cc to 450cc class.
“I’ve enjoyed learning the track during our pre-runs; it’s an eye opening experience racing this fast. The prologue track is similar to an open and fast motocross track so I hope my experience in motocross will help me qualify well for our race to Finke. I really want to finish inside the top 3 in my class, this is our goal.” Norton said.
The Penrite Honda Team is also fielding two riders in the ‘up to 250cc 4-stroke class.’ Reigning 250cc Champion Mark Grove who aims to defend his 2017 win and local rider Caleb Auricht is back with a vengeance after a crash took him out of contention last year. Team director Yarrive Konsky believes both riders are capable of taking the win.
“Mark and Caleb are both capable winners, Finke is tough on riders and machines and I can only hope they are both fighting for 1st and 2nd. It’s a long and trying three days of competition and I just want them to finish safely.” Konsky said.
Honda’s Brand and Motorsport Manager, Glyn Griffiths has experienced Finke many times and knows that it can be one of the most unpredictable motorcycle races in Australia.
“You can be as prepared as possible for whatever Finke might throw at you but it’s certainly a race that can catch you off-guard. We wish every competitor the best and we hope that we are victorious in our efforts.” Griffiths said.
For more information on the Tatts Finke Desert Race, visit: https://finkedesertrace.com.au/