Alice Springs desert racing legend David Walsh has captured a third-straight victory at the Finke Desert Race, the HMG Motorsport Group KTM rider setting a record-breaking pace in the 2022 edition.
As team manager and lead rider in the new HMG Motorsport Group KTM team, Walsh led the way yesterday’s opening 226km stage from Alice Springs to Finke, with his time of 1h46m10.3s placing him a comfortable three minutes ahead of the rest of the field.
Equipped with the mighty KTM 500 EXC-F, the 32-year-old controlled his advantage on the return leg back to Alice Springs today, relinquishing just 42 seconds as he set the third-fastest time of 1h49m34.6s.
When the overall times were tallied, Walsh finished with a total of 3h35m45s and enjoyed a handy advantage of 2m26s over second place. His performance saw him eclipse the previous Finke Desert Race record of Toby Price by a full 11 minutes.
Meanwhile, HMG Motorsport Group KTM teammate Luke Hayes put in an impressive effort to finish the 2022 Finke Desert Race in P7, despite only being recruited to the team in April and carrying a niggling wrist injury.
After finishing the Prologue in 16th position, Hayes and his KTM 500 EXC-F put in a hard charge on the first leg to Finke, passing 10 riders on his way to sixth in the Bike category.
Upon return to Alice Springs, Hayes was embroiled in a three-way battle with two other racers and ultimately ended up in seventh place after more than 3h47m of high-speed action in the desert.
David Walsh: “We put in a lot of work and it feels amazing to reap the rewards of that to get my third-consecutive win. This race means a lot to me and I’m glad we can keep the trophy here in Alice Springs. On the whole leg home today I forced myself to concentrate on the job at hand as there were some nasty sections out there and you only win if you cross the finish line in first place. I’m looking forward to celebrating now and to welcoming our new baby – due this week – into the world.”
Luke Hayes: “Finishing seventh was just outside the aim I had set for myself, but I gave it my all and I’m happy to be home safely. Today’s leg was very rough, but that suited me as there were more lines to choose from and you needed to play your cards better. Despite that, the order didn’t change a great deal between the top guys today, even though it was close with Ivan Long in front of me and Sam Davie behind me. I’m grateful to the HMG Motorsport Group KTM team for the opportunity to race for them this year and for their support. It’s been a great weekend.”
2022 Finke Desert Race
Bikes Outright results:
1. David Walsh (HMG Motorsport Group KTM) 3h35m45.0s
2. Jacob Smith (Husqvarna) 3h38m09.4s
3. Jack Simpson (Husqvarna) 3h38m52.8s
4. Korey McMahon (GASGAS) 3h42m42.3s
5. Brodie Waters (KTM) 3h42m50.7s
7. Luke Hayes (HMG Motorsport Group KTM) 3h47m49.4s