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2011 Finke Blog

2011 Finke Blog Day 2

Day 2 of the Finke Desert race is tough, bodies aching (for most of us) but ready to ride the 229km back to Alice Springs. I was so cold overnight at Finke, cold enough for 10mm of ice on the seat in the morning. The GHR crew cooked up a big breakky for the real riders (I got some too though) and with us all geared up it was waiting time for the start of the return leg.

The NT's Matthew Stone set a blistering time on the way home almost 4 minutes faster on his KTM than Wes Miller but not enough to overhaul the overall time of Wes or the first quad into Finke, Chad McKay who's 4th fastest time home was enough for him to take the Quad Class win by just under a minute giving Can Am their 2nd win in the last 4 years. Smitty's lost time and two places on the way home with a clutch problem, coming back 4 minutes slower than he went down but still managing to out do the young guns Jake and Mitch Van Vliet.

I struggled physically on the way back to Alice for the first part but came good around the halfway mark to be able to have a bit of a race with some of the other quads but with my borrowed DS450 bleeding oil from the engine making it home was the top priority after quite a few engines had expired during the race from lack of oil on the inside. I am glad though that I finally got to ride this race after all the years of coming up here to support riders and I need to thank everyone who helped me to get there, Mick@47 for his help with parts and general just being Mick, Smitty for the encouragement (and transport, accom, KFC, etc...) Scooter for the the time off work, Noodles for lending me his DS450 to ride, Danny for the Fox Shocks, and of course my wife Sairs for her support in my crazy ideas like going to races like this all the time.

And so ends my Finke adventures for another year, who know what next year will bring, I may just make a return to crew for Smitty again but I fear that I may have caught the Finke fever which see's many riders return every year to try and better themselves at this prestigious event. See you next year Alice Springs.

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Pos
Number
Class
Competitor
Town
State
Bike
Day 1
Day 2
Overall
1 994 9 McKay, Chad Brigadoon WA Can-Am DS450 XMX 02:37:40 02:40:48 05:18:28
2 969 9 Miller, Wes Los Angeles ACT Honda TRX 700xx 02:39:05 02:40:16 05:19:22
3 923 9 Stone, Matthew Casuarina NT KTM SX 02:48:03 02:36:31 05:24:34
4 916 9 Donnelly, Sean Alice Springs NT Yamaha YFZ450 02:44:02 02:43:44 05:27:46
5 901 9 Roycroft, Michael Killingworth NSW Polaris OUTLAW IRS 02:50:57 02:40:19 05:31:17
6 957 9 Smith , Paul Mepunga VIC Honda TRX700 02:46:40 02:50:37 05:37:18
7 991 9 Van Vliet, Jake Narre Warren North VIC Can-Am DS450MX 02:52:32 02:45:40 05:38:13
8 992 9 Van vliet, Mitchell Narre Warren North VIC Can-Am DS450MX 02:52:21 02:49:16 05:41:37
9 915 9 Sheridan, Clinton Devonport TAS Suzuki LTR450 02:51:05 02:52:09 05:43:14
10 998 9 Beer, Rick Williamsdale NSW Can-Am MX 02:54:22 02:51:28

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2011 Finke Blog Day 1

After getting all our gear and spares sorted out to go down to Finke on the GHR Honda truck and a a quiet dinner on Saturday night we were out at the track at around 9 for sign on and the start of Day 1. The Xteam crew had already let for Finke but Mick had left thier race trailer for the team riders (and us of course) to get changed in and leave our gear while we waited to start. Due to all the Cars getting down and the track being clear the event organisers decided to move the start forward by half an hour making it 11:30 for the first bikes to start off, most of the top quads started within 15 mins of the first bike leaving (the top 20 bikes leave 2 at a time at one minute intervals, followed by rows of 10 bikes), I got to leave at 12:16 with plenty of quads in the rows in front for me to try to catch.

Fastest to prolouge he may have been but Luke Becchey's good luck run at Finke finally gave way on day 1 out with a mechaincal issue at the 40 Km mark the big movers and shakers for the day though were Chad McKay taking the lead and setting the fastet time to Finke on his Can AM DS450 followed by Wes Miller and Paul Smith on thier TRX700XX's making thier way to 2nd and 4th respectively from 8th and 13th in the class and also the Xteam's Van Vliet family combination of Mitch and Jake putting in times on 10 seconds apart from each other.

I myself had a reasonable run on the way down passing a number of quad on the track (as well as a number of broken down ones off the track) to lift myself to 35th in the class and made it in a reasonable time (but not fast enough by my standards) of 3 hours and 23 minutes but at least had some fun along the way until a flat tyre about 20km from Finke had me cruising in a little slower again.

We got the service and repair work out of the way pretty quickly with Smitty's 700 needing just a filter change and a muffler repack and my DS in a similar state, a quick air filter change, a puncture repair and a check over and both were ready to go again so with that done we got to spend the rest of the night in the hospitality of the GHR Honda team for dinner and dessert. GHR were also hosting Wes Miller for the event so it was also a good chance to sit and chat with the American rider (and his mechanic Rich Morel) about their quad set up and the differences between our Finke Desert Race and the Baja 500 that Wes had just come from with a Class 25 win (with Wayne Matlock and Josh Caster).

Pos
Car
Class
Competitor
Town
State
Bike
Time
1 994 9 McKay, Chad Brigadoon WA Can-Am DS450 XMX 02:37:40
2 969 9 Miller, Wes Los Angeles ACT Honda TRX 700xx 02:39:05
3 916 9 Donnelly, Sean Alice Springs NT Yamaha YFZ450 02:44:02
4 957 9 Smith , Paul Mepunga VIC Honda TRX700 02:46:40
5 923 9 Stone, Matthew Casuarina NT KTM SX 02:48:03
6 901 9 Roycroft, Michael Killingworth NSW Polaris OUTLAW IRS 02:50:57
7 915 9 Sheridan, Clinton Devonport TAS Suzuki LTR450 02:51:05
8 992 9 Van vliet, Mitchell Narre Warren North VIC Can-Am DS450MX 02:52:21
9 991 9 Van Vliet, Jake Narre Warren North VIC Can-Am DS450MX 02:52:32
10 982 9 Brown, Chris Bindoon WA Can-Am DS450 02:54:18

2011 Finke Blog - Prolouge

We finally get to do some riding today and the anticipation has been big for me, of all the times I've been here I have never turned a wheel in anger on the track and I was actually a little nervous this morning but once we got out there to prolouge I sorted myself out a little and at least got around in an average time, 47th in the quad class but around mid field in the outright standings, hopefully I'll be able to pull a few places tomorrow once we get going.

It wouldn't be Finke if we did't have to fix something on Smittys quad at the last minute, this time the side of the Yoshimura muffler blew out during prolouge so the rest of the day was spent trying to get the old DMC pipe back up to scratch to get the 700XX back on track for the race.

With his lack of bike time this year Smith only managed 13th in the class though notably the Quad Class winner from the last 2 years , Polaris rider Luke Beechey pulled the fastest quad time for prolouge though he has never been up the pointy end from the start of day one adn usually has to come from a little way back. Also up the front end were a couple of the X team riders, Chad McKay and Jake Van Vliet both getting in the top ten and Wes Miller, of Bomb Squad fame, coming in 8th on hos TRX700XX. Smitty and myself are staying with the GHR Honda team at Finke for the overnight stop this year as are Wes and his Crew so hopefull we'll be able to bring you some insight into his trip here.

Belo are the top 15 quad times, for full results you can look up www.finkedesertrace.com.au

Pos
No.
Class
Competitor
Town
State
Bike
Time

1 995 9 Beecehy, Luke Nerang QLD Polaris OUTLAW 00:05:35
2 923 9 Stone, Matthew Casuarina NT KTM SX 00:05:40
3 915 9 Sheridan, Clinton Devonport TAS Suzuki LTR450 00:05:43
4 994 9 McKay, Chad Brigadoon WA Can-Am DS450 XMX 00:05:44
5 951 9 Sheridan, Troy Devonport TAS Suzuki LTR450 00:05:48
6 916 9 Donnelly, Sean Alice Springs NT Yamaha YFZ450 00:05:48
7 974 9 Coulthard, Bradley Alice Springs NT KTM 450 00:05:48
8 969 9
Miller, Wes Los Angeles ACT Honda TRX 700xx 00:05:50
9 901 9 Roycroft, Michael Killingworth NSW Polaris OUTLAW IRS 00:05:50
10 991 9 Van Vliet, Jake Narre Warren North VIC Can-Am DS450MX 00:05:50
11 998 9 Beer, Rick Williamsdale NSW Can-Am MX 00:05:50
12 982 9 Brown, Chris Bindoon WA Can-Am DS450 00:05:52
13 957 9 Smith , Paul Mepunga VIC Honda TRX700 00:05:53
14 939 9 Edler, Johnathon Slacks creek QLD Yamaha YFM700RY 00:05:54
15 997 9 Maragozidis, John Gawler River SA Other INTERCEPTOR 850 00:05:57
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2011 Finke Blog - Scrutineering

Friday night is Scrutineering night which is a bit of a process for bike and quad riders, with near 500 of them to get through it takes about 5 hours for everyone to get their riding gear checked over before they can then take their bike through. We got in the queue as soon as scrutineering opened at 4:30 and weren't all done until about 6 which left plenty of time for wandering around and checking out some of the other quads, bikes and buggies.

Photos Courtesy of Dirt Comp magazine

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2011 Finke Blog

Well it seems that its that time of year again and we have made the usual trip to the middle of Australia for the Finke Desert Race. This will be my 7th year up here supporting Paul "Smitty" Smith, this year once again riding a Honda TRX700XX but with a twist, after all this time I am finally going to have a ride myself. With the help of a few mates (thanks Noodles, Jumbo Danny, Mick@47, Scooter and Shane Hardiman) I've been hooked up with a Can Am DS450 XMX with a bit of gear, some Fox Shocks, a Precision steering damper and OMF bead locks with Artrax MX Trax tyres all round.

There has been some unseasonal weather up here with rain all week until today (Friday) so I got the pleasure of putting the final touches on Smittys 700XX and and my DS under a pit tent in the rain at the Desert Palms Resort where we are staying. On top of that I've also had to finish putting together my boss from Scootarounds Outlaw IRS which came up here minus a rear axle assembly that arrived late yesterday afternoon so most of this morning has been spent sorting out the back half of his quad.

The Desert Palms Resort is a hot spot for quad riders to stay when they visit Alice Springs for this event so we've got to catch up with a number of regular riders that we see every year up here including our friends from the Can Am Xteam who travelled up here at the same time as us with their 44 foot race trailer. The Xteam riders this year for Finke are Chad McKay, Mitch Van Vliet, Jake Van Vliet and Darrell "Bullet" Knight and well be keeping tabs on them for the weekend too.

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