KTM Desert Racing Team rider and off-road motorcycle racing hero Ben Grabham will try for a hat-trick of wins when this weekend’s WA round of the Australian Rally championship takes place at Busselton and Nannup.
The Quit Forest Rally in the second round of the East Coast Bullbars Australian Rally Championship and the longest consecutively run rally in the Championship’s history, the occasion of its 30th running adding extra significance to this year’s event.
Australia’s most decorated current desert and rally racer, Ben Grabham has won the motorcycle division of the Forest Rally for the last two years, and returns to try to extend the streak in 2014 aboard his much loved KTM 500 EXC enduro bike.
The event marks the beginning of his domestic season for Grabham who kicked off the year by competing in the famous Dakar Rally in January, unfortunately crashing out of the event in Argentina on the fourth day after reaching as high as third in the motorcycle division of the world’s biggest off-road racing event.
The 32-year-old will arrive in Perth on Thursday morning to begin preparing for the event.
Ben Grabham – “The Forest Rally is just one of those fun events for the year, the way it piggybacks the Australian Rally Car Championships round. We get to use the exact same special stages as the cars are using, which are high-speed fast flowing forest roads. The pea gravel they get over here in WA makes it kind of fun too – you can’t go to crazy because you can lose it pretty quick. I go there because it’s a little bit different to everything else we do during the year, and it’s always good to be racing the clock. It’s the type of event where you are expected to navigate a little bit too, not once you’re in the stage because the cars make a fair track to follow, but coming and going you have to do your navigation or you’ll get lost. So it’s all good experience and good time on the bike.
The organisers brought the bikes in a few years ago. It’s a great concept that’s a little unknown over this side of the country but it would be awesome to see more events combine with the cars just to build the events up bigger, and give people who don’t normally get to see motorcycle racing a chance to see what we do.
My 500 EXC is spot-on for everything I’ll be doing this year, the only variation is which fuel tank, or tyres or gearing, or the use of navigation equipment. For the Forest Rally I’ll use the same road book as I do in the Safari and Dakar on the ‘bars.”