It has been 9 months since I have raced any events and that was the motocross nationals. I have only ridden a quad once in that time which was the weekend before the finke desert race. Some could say I had pretty bad preparation leading into the 2011 tattersalls finke desert race, however last year when I competed it was only 6 weeks after separating the ac joint in my shoulder and I was in a lot of pain. This year my body has had time to heal some previous injuries and rest a lot. I was as fit as ever off the bike but it was my bike fitness that I was a bit nervous about for the finke this year. I was on board the same DS450X MX that I rode last year with only a few changes including a new wiring loom from race team in Canada, a new motoworks exhaust system and the quad tech hump seat. Pete Wilhelms from Thumbpump.com prepared the bike and went right through it to make sure it was going to be ready for the finke.
The bike was pretty much ready to go with only a few adjustments to the suspension and steering during testing a couple of days prior to the event.
Prologue didn't worry me much this year as I didn't really want to start at the front of the pack for the race. Last year I prologued 2nd but once I got into the lead on day one I had no one to chase and didn't know how hard to push. This year I was up against 2009/2010 winner Luke Beechy for prologue and he got the jump on me on the start straight. It was really dusty and I had to drop back so that I could see the track. I prologued 4th out of the quads which I was happy with as it gave me a chance to chase down some of the boys out front when the race started.
Race day 1: I got a good start and charged hard straight away passing both the Sheridan brothers from Tassie by the 30 km mark. I then caught Matty Stone at the first fuel stop and actually passed him as he pulled in only to get passed back as I was pulling out of my fuel stop. The fuel team told me that I was winning which meant Beechy must have been out which was disappointing. I was looking forward to a 2010 1 and 2 battle. I sat behind Stoney for about 15 km and could not see a thing on one of the fastest sections of the track. At one stage I even went off the track because I couldn't see the corner coming. Once we reached the whoops I knew I would get him soon, so I made the pass and went straight to work on pulling as much of a gap as I could. I then rested quite a bit knowing it was a long race home and I wanted my body to be ready for the big day ahead. I knew I had a decent lead but wasn't sure how fast American competitor and 4 times baja winner Wes Miller was. I stuck to the plan of resting my body and getting to finke to see where I stood for day 2. Turns out I was the fastest to finke and pulled a 2 1/2 minute gap on Wes. I was happy about this because I knew I reserved myself and had a lot more for the race home.
Day 2 saw me start 1 minute in front of Wes however it was nearly over before it began as I cartwheeled My bike when I didn't see one of the corners through the dust put out by two wheel riders. My bike landed on me but I was ok and so was the bike so I was only down a few seconds. I charged really hard after this and knew that Wes would be on the hunt to chase me down. When I got to the whoops I smashed them as hard as I could knowing that I would gap Wes here as his 700 wouldn't be able to run the same pace as my Can-am through the whoops. I had a big lead by the first fuel stop and was feeling great but at the 130 km to go mark I hit a treestump with my front left tyre causing an instant flat. I though I was going to get passed for sure but managed to still go as fast as the bike would let me push it on the smooth sections. The whoops and cornering were a different story and I struggled in these parts with the flat tyre. I crashed again around a high speed corner when my bike wouldn't turn properly. Myself and the bike cartwheeled off the track and into a spectator sitting on his bike on the side of the track. I layed there pretty sore for a bit but realised I was still ok. I was happy to see my bike and the spectator were also ok and I got back on the bike. The adrenaline was pretty high now and I pushed hard to the finish being as careful as I could with the bike especially close to the finish where there are a lot of tight turns. I crossed the line still in first place and I knew I had won. I was so happy and could not believe that after everything that had happened I still took out the quad class win. Wes and Matt both fininshed very close after me and I was stoked to have held those boys off.
The whole week and event was so much fun and I am very greatful to the Can-am X-Team and 47industries, for giving me the opportunity to take part in the race on such a great bike even after my lack of racing this year.
Thankyou to all of my sponsors who helped me with the race as it honestly would not have happened without their support. Thankyou also to everyone else who supported me from fans to family and friends. I can't explain how happy I was to win the event and I will be back next year.