[KTM]

WALSH CAPTURES FINKE HAT-TRICK

2 weeks ago | Words: Andy Wigan | Photos: KTM Images

There are countless epic stories about Finke Desert Race winners since the iconic event’s inaugural running in 1976, but few are better than David Walsh’s. The laconic Alice Springs local battled for 12 long years before fulfilling his lifelong dream of becoming Finke’s King of the Desert in 2019. He backed that up last year win another dominant win (the 2020 event didn’t run due to Covid). Then, over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend just gone, Walsh won the prestigious desert race for a third time in succession, smashing Toby Price’s race record by 11 minutes and bettering his own 2019 race-winning time by almost 21 minutes.

The hat-trick of Finke wins put Walsh in rarified air, with only three other riders ever accomplishing the feat: Randall Gregory (a record five consecutive wins – 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995), Ben Grabham (2007, 2008, 2009) and Toby Price (2014, 2015, 2016).

Joining Walsh on the 2022 Finke’s podium were Husqvarna-mounted duo, Jacob Smith (who ran second to Walsh back in 2019) and Jack Simpson (who ran second to Walsh last year). Meanwhile Walsh’s teammate, Luke Hayes, finished a very credible seventh, despite only joining the new-look KTM outfit in April.

Here is KTM’s PR about Walshy’s incredible achievement…

As team manager and lead rider in the new HMG Motorsport Group KTM team, David Walsh led the way on Sunday’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 500EXC-F, the 32-year-old controlled his advantage on the return leg back to Alice Springs on Monday, 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 500EXC-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

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