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The riders to watch in the 2019 Finke Desert Race

Speedcafe.com

Friday 7th June, 2019 - 2:38pm

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Toby Price’s absence from the two-wheel field opens the door for a new rider to become the King of the Desert in this year’s Tatts Finke Desert Race.

Price, a six-time winner of Finke in the Bikes category, has opted for a Cars-only campaign as he continues his recovery from the wrist fracture aggravated in his victorious run in January’s Dakar Rally.

David Walsh, who finished runner-up to Price last year, is an obvious contender having also come up one position short of victory in 2012 and 2014 as well.

The Alice Springs local will nevertheless face stiff competition from several other competitors of varying experience.

With the 44th Finke Desert Race officially getting underway today with scrutineering, before tomorrow’s prologue in Alice Springs, read on for the five riders to watch in 2019.

David Walsh

#2 David Walsh

Team: North Star Pastoral KTM Racing Team
Bike: KTM 500 EXC-F
Hometown: Alice Springs
Age: 29
Finke starts: 11
Best finish: 2nd outright (2018, 2014, 2012)
Favourite part of the track: “First 80km because it’s where everyone is and is the most fun.”
Worst part of the track: “First 80km because it’s also the roughest part of the track.”

Jack Simpson

#3 Jack Simpson

Team: Penrite Factory Honda Racing
Bike: Honda CRF 450R
Hometown: Seaford, Vic
Age: 23
Finke starts: 2
Best finish: 3rd outright (2018)
Favourite part of the track: “Between the 80km and 100km mark – fast rocky stuff.”
Worst part of the track: “First 10km.”

Callum Norton

#X98 Callum Norton

Team: North Star Pastoral KTM Racing Team
Bike: KTM 450 EXC-F
Hometown: Benwerrin, Vic
Age: 18
Finke starts: 1
Best finish: DNF (Debuted 2018)
Favourite part of the track: “Bundooma whoops.”
Worst part of the track: “I don’t really have a least favourite part, I like the whole track!”

Jacob Smith

#299 Jacob Smith

Team: Schwarz Excavation Husqvarna
Bike: Husqvarna FE 501
Hometown: Condoblin, NSW
Age: 30
Finke starts: 10
Best finish: 2nd outright (2013)
Favourite part of the track: “Hitting the 120km to 180km section fresh through the big whoops.”
Worst part of the track: “Always the first 25km, it’s rough and where the order gets sorted out.”

Beau Ralston

#295 Beau Ralston

Team: Schwarz Excavation Husqvarna
Bike: Husqvarna FE 501
Hometown: Seahampton, NSW
Age: 28
Finke starts: 3
Best finish: 5th outright (2016)
Favourite part of the track: “The whoops between Bundooma and the second fuel stop.”
Worst part of the track: “The first 40km.”

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