Honda 8 out of 10 at Finke Desert Race
Honda Unstoppable At Finke Desert Race – Finish Top 8 Out Of 10
Honda's CRF450 has taken out 8 of the top 10 spots at this weekend's Finke Desert Race with Glenn Hoffmann Honda rider Ben Grabham winning the number one overall spot in the motorcycle class.
Out of a field of 406 bikes, Grabham finished a smidgen ahead of last year's winner and Alice Springs teenager Ryan Branford who was also aboard a CRF450, supported by local Honda Dealer Desert Edge.
Local Jason Hill made it an all red podium for the manufacturer with his third place on board the CRF in 4:34:36. Constant changes in the lead group kept the crowd on their toes for the entire 226 kilometre journey each way.
'Grabbo', as well as the other top Honda riders, including Branford, Hill, Ben Brooks and prologue winner Michael Walsh dominated the proceedings with KTM rider Brad Williscroft providing the only competition to the lead Honda riders before crashing out.
At Bundooma (140 kilometres from the start) on the return, Grabham checked in first, however Branford was only a mere 11 seconds behind after pushing extremely hard to catch the leader. Grabbo won with a total time of 4:19.4, and said his race had gone to plan. "I knew what had to be done to keep ahead of Ryan."
"This race is never an easy one for anyone, and this year the track was rougher and the dust was worse than last year. Visibility was poor which made it tough."
"I'm really happy to have gone one better than I did last year. The bike has been amazing which I think is pretty apparent by how many CRF's finished in the top ten."
Branford had a huge off at high speed at one point, but still managed to hang on for the second position overall. Hill also had to deal with hold ups including a flat front tyre however the Darwin based rider was still able to come in around 11 minutes later.
Honda riders also performed extremely well in various other divisions including American, Steve Hengeveld, fresh off his Team win in the Baja 500, who finished #1 in the 451cc and above four stroke 2 class.
Also worthy of mention is Honda Australia's Marketing Services Manager, Rhys Griffiths who finished third in the Veterans (45 years and over) class on board a CRF450X. (Terry Christopher Billett of South Australia also won this class on board his CRF450R.)
"It was an amazing experience," Griffiths said. "The whole town lives and breaths the race and everyone knows that Honda dominates it."
"I surprised myself to be quite honest. I never thought I'd get anywhere near the result I did, but the bikes were faultless."
"I stalled once in deep sand but never had any other problems."
Full results can be found at: www.finkedesertrace.com.au
PROVISIONAL RESULTS – TOP 10 OVERALL (Bikes)
1 Grabham, Ben CRF450R NSW – 4:19:04
2 Branford, Ryan CRF450 NT – 4:23:02
3 Hill, Jason CRF450R NT – 4:34:36
4 Walsh, Michael CRF450 NT – 4:37:47
5 Auricht, Caleb 450 SXF NSW – 4:37:58
6 Brooks, Ben CRF450R7 NT – 4:42:23
7 Hawkes, Nathan CRF4505 2007 VIC – 4:52:33
8 Sladek, Mark CRF VIC – 4:57:41
9 Mitchell, Andy CRF 450 QLD – 4:57:57
10 Stephens, Lee RMZ 450 NSW – 5:00:16