KTM’s brand new Desert Racing Team is closing in on a maiden Desert Tri-Series win to go along with its Finke and Hattah trophies, entering this weekend’s final round; the Indee 500, hosted at Indee Station by the Port Hedland Motorcycle Club.
If round one and two winner Toby Price or teammate Ivan Long are able to wrap up the series, it will be KTM’s second Desert tri-series victory in the two year history of the concept, following Ben Grabham’s runaway victory in the inaugural series last year.
The KTM desert racing team will again give the round its full support with a three rider entry that also includes WA motocross ace Louis Calvin, filling in for team manager Ben Grabham, who is recovering from surgery to his hand.
The series challenges competitors with three days of desert racing action per round, utilising a 10-kilometre Prologue on the Friday followed by approximately 500 kilometres of racing across Saturday and Sunday, and incorporating everything from wide-open desert expanses to slower more technical terrain like riverbed, hills and rock outcrops.
This weekend’s event will carry special significance, firstly as the 10th running of the Indee 500, and secondly as a chance for Toby Price to take the $20,000 bonus prize for winning all three rounds.
KTM’s Grabham won the bonus in last year’s inaugural series.
Ben Grabham, Team Manager: “It’s got a little bit of history this one, it is in its 10th year, so that’s kind of cool, and I’m expecting it to be quite big. I did it last year so I’ve got a bit of an idea of what the boys should expect. It’s probably more hard packed, rocky and more technical in a couple of areas than what they’ve had in the last two rounds, and there’s not too much room to error, so they are going to have to be a little bit smart about things. All the bikes and equipment have stayed up there since the last round, so, our mechanic Mikey and myself will get there a little bit early, and the usual thing, give ’em a wash, oil, an air filter and some tyres and they’ll be ready for prologue on Friday. The boys are going great; Toby is trying for the clean sweep, and Ivan is nipping at his heels, while Louis is going to come up and have his third go in the desert. He learned last time that when it’s so dusty, prologue is really important, so I’m sure he’s out to do a little bit better there and move forward again.
I had surgery four days after that last round, there was a lot of crap to clean up and we took out some old plates and it was feeling pretty good but I’m probably looking at another month before I could think about hanging onto another handlebar. There’s a big long track meeting in Bathurst in November, so I hope to be back on and ready to have a little bit of fun going sideways then.”
Toby Price: “Time to switch modes again. I’m coming out of the four-day with no injuries which is good, and flying out today for the tri-series and looking forward to it. We’ll go there and see how we do, and see if we can get a win over there. The 20 grand is up for grabs for me, so we’ll see how we go, it might come good and it might not. All I’ve really heard about the Indee 500 is that it’s a race where we can’t really make too many mistakes, apparently there’s some nice big and hills and trees that are worth avoiding, so we’ve got to make sure we are on point and good to go.”
Ivan Long: “I don’t know much about the track but from what I’ve seen in the footage and photos it’s pretty rocky in places, and it can have a lot of creek beds and sandy choppy bumps and which will make it a little bit interesting, but we’ve got the best suspension in the business, with Greenfield racing helping us out and that suspension is going to get us through this race pretty good I’m sure. The goal is just to have a good run and come out injury free, so I can have a good pre-season for next year. Toby will be back with a vengeance after getting second at the four-day, and especially with the bonus prize money up for grabs, so hopefully I can be the guy to stop him. I’ll see if I can stir him up as much as I can to make it really good racing for the Indi people!”
Louis Calvin: “Another new venue for me, so I’m looking forward to it, it should be good fun. It’s been good being a part of that team, with all of the knowledge that all of those guys have. Like last round that we did, we all went around the prologue loop on a quad, and it was really good to have Toby and Grabbo there pointing things out, and showing the things look out for. My goal for this one is basically just to do better at Prologue, It was really dusty last time and I had more speed than some of the guys in front of me, but if you can’t see you can’t pass.”
WA Desert Tri-Series Points after two rounds:
1 T.Price 50
2 I.Long 44
3 J.Smith 38}
4 T.Smith 34
5 R.Faggotter 30
6 J.Watling 26
7 B.Black 26
8 B.Grabham 20
9 R.Scoble 20
10 J.Halford 17
2014 Desert Racing Tri-Series:
27-29 June – Kumarina 500, (Newman Enduro Club)
25-27 July – Doorawarrah 500, (Desert Motorcycle Club)
22-24 August – Indee 500 (Port Hedland Motorcycle Club)