Smith brothers take charge as Finke gets underway
Todd Smith (#3 Honda CRF450) from Mittagong in NSW has led the 400 strong bike field into Finke on Day 1 of the 2013 Tatts Finke Desert Race with a time 2 hours and 23 seconds over the 226 kilometre trip from the Alice Springs start to the overnight stop at Finke.
Brother Jake Smith (#11 Honda CRF450R) recorded the second fastest time of 2 hours 3 minutes and 5 seconds.
Third fastest into Finke with a time of 2 hours 4 minutes and 4 seconds was Josh Green (#X49 YZF Yamaha) from Soldiers Point in NSW.
With the Smith brothers taking off from the start line together it has been a “family feud” down the track in Australia’s most prestigious off-road event.
At the first check point – Deep Well (68 km from the start) -Jake held the lead from his brother Todd by 8 seconds.
By the second checkpoint – Rodinga (98 km from the start) the situation reversed with Todd leading by 29 seconds.
By Bundooma (140km from the start) Todd had put 1 minute and 3 seconds between he and his brother Jake.
At Mount Squires (172km from the start) Todd Smith had further increased his lead over his brother Jake to an even 2 minutes.
Todd Smith has tasted Tatts Finke Desert Race success with a third place last year (2012) and a second place in 2010.
By comparison with today’s fastest time set by Todd Smith, last year’s eventual race winner Toby Price (KTM) made the journey from Alice Springs in a time of 1 hour 57 minutes and 55 seconds.
Four time Tatts Finke Desert Race winner Ben Grabham (#X99 KTM 450 SX-F) returning to the race after missing last year’s event as a result of serious injury was 11th fastest into Finke today with a time of 2 hours 12 minutes and 46 seconds.
Bike riders that encountered problems on today’s run to Finke included:
• #16 KTM 450SX-F Ryan Branford (NT) – out at the 120 km mark with mechanical issues
• #12 Yamaha YZ450F Anthony Roberts (Qld) – out at 80 km (no further details)
• #9 Husaberg FE501 Mark Sladek (Vic) – out at Mt Squires (no further details)
After camping overnight the bike field will leave Finke tomorrow (Monday June 10) at 11.30am (CST) for the run home to Alice Springs with the first bikes expected to arrive at approx. 13.30pm.