Toby Price is on track for Finke Desert Race domination after Day 1, where he blitzed the field, taking the bike lead at 1 hour, 57 minutes and 45.6 seconds.
Price is on track with his Iron Man Finke Double attempt after finishing second fastest in his truck earlier this morning. The 2016 Dakar champion is aiming to make history by winning both car and bike categories tomorrow.
“I’m not going to lie, I was pretty nervous lining up after 24 months away from the bike category. We had a pretty damn good run, clean fast and really just hit my marks. We have a comfortable lead coming into tomorrow but this crazy race can throw anything and everything at you. I won’t be taking it any easier on the way back to Alice Springs as these boys behind me a hungry for a win.”
After a disappointing Prologue, local hero David Walsh (#299 KTM 500 EXC-F) moved through the field today to finish in second place at the half way mark, 4 minutes and 12.8 seconds slower than Price.
Geelong’s Callum Norton (#X98 Honda CRF450R) was the first of the Hondas to make it to Finke, setting a time of 2 hours, 11 minutes and 5.5 seconds on the rough and dusty track.
Jack Simpson (#296 KTM 500 EXC-F) was one of six Victorians to finish in the top ten, coming in fourth ahead of tomorrow’s highly-anticipated 2018 edition of the iconic event.
Kent Collins (#4 KTM 500 EXC-F), Nathan Trigg (#6 Sherco 450 SEF), Mark Grove (#9 Honda CRF 259R), Angus Gelly (#221 KTM 500 EXC-F), Beau Dargel (#15 KTM 500 EXC-F) and Brandon Kienhuis (#H07 Husqvarna Fe 501) rounded out the top ten in what was a difficult day for all riders in 31 degree heat.
2017 runner-up Ivan Long (#2 Husqvarna FE 450), who was second off the line this morning, failed to make the 226km journey to Finke with suspected mechanical failure.
Alice Springs local Luke Hayes (#3 KTM 500 EXC-F) also failed to finish, however not all was lost and he was able to salvage fellow Territorian Lachy Summers’ (#11 KTM 500 EXC-F) race by giving him a front tyre on the side of the road. Summers went on to arrive at the final checkpoint in 16th place.
Finke Desert Race 2018 – Bikes Day 1 – Top 10
PRICE, TOBY – KTM – 1:57:45.6
WALSH, DAVID – KTM – 02:01:58.4
NORTON, CALLUM – HONDA – 02:11:05.5
SIMPSON, JACK – KTM – 02:12:22.5
COLLINS, KENT – KTM – 02:15:56.2
TRIGG, NATHAN – SHERCO – 02:17:11.0
GROVE, MARK – HONDA – 02:18:41.5
GELLY, ANGUS – KTM – 02:21:57.7
DARGEL, BEAU – KTM – 02:26:39.8
KIENHUIS, BRANDON – HUSQVARNA – 02:27:21.5
Toby Price had a promising start by finishing 2nd in the Truck Category. Price and Navigator Jason Duncan started 4th off the line and overtook the 2nd and 3rd placed X2WD Trucks to finish 2nd Outright in the Truck Category, and 1st in the X2WD Class, with a time of 01:50:57.
The Red Bull Trophy Truck had a couple of close calls and managed to rip the tracker off the roof but had a quick run from Alice Springs to the Day 1 finish line in Finke.
Price and Duncan are 2 minutes and 59.3 seconds from the leader and the next competitor is exactly 8 minutes behind the Red Bull Trophy Truck.
“Really stoked to arrive in Finke 2nd just a few minutes from the leader after a wild ride down in the Red Bull Trophy truck, we had a couple of close calls and managed to rip the tracker off the roof, but I’m looking forward to starting second off the line tomorrow.”
After camping overnight, the bikes will leave Finke tomorrow (Monday) morning at 11.45am CST for the run back to the Alice Springs finish with the first bikes expected to arrive at approximately 2.05pm CST.
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