Supercars rookie’s father to take on Finke

Russell and Todd Hazelwood

Todd Hazelwood’s father Russell will compete in the Bikes category of next month’s Tatts Finke Desert Race in the Northern Territory.

The Finke, Australia’s blue riband offroad event, will mark Russell’s first motorcycle outing since 1995, the year Todd was born.

Todd is looking forward to cheering on his father for the first time.

“It’s pretty cool to see Dad back on the bike, I haven’t actually seen him on a bike before so that’s how long it’s been since Dad has been up on the wheel,” said Todd.

“It’s cool to see Dad do something that he loves and enjoys.

“Now to actually go out and support him is pretty special considering over the last 16 years he’s been by my side as well as my Mum and my sister making this all happen.

“I can’t wait to see how he goes.”

Russell raced desert bikes as a teenager and previously competed in supersprint and hillclimb events in his Ford XC Falcon until 2003, when Todd began karting.

He will be joined in the event by Richard Maxwell, owner of one of Todd’s sponsors Maxwell Freightlines, and the man who offered Russell the ride in Finke.

Russell will race in the Over 45’s class, carrying Todd’s racing number 35.

“I was sitting down having Christmas lunch with Richard Maxwell and he offered the opportunity to me and so I thought, ‘Why not? I’ll bring myself out of retirement,’” said the 57-year-old.

“After 23 years (off a bike) I’ll ride the Finke alongside Richard.

“There’s 106 in our class, so it’ll be interesting to see what my competition’s like in the class, but I am sure we’ll have a lot of fun.

“The bike is a 2017 KTM 350, it’s been modified for the event… it’s got 60-plus horsepower so it’s quite exciting to ride.

“I’m simply stoked to bring it all together.”

The Finke Desert Race, which runs between Alice Springs and the small desert settlement of Finke, takes place on June 8-11, a week before the CrownBet Darwin Triple Crown.

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