Defending KTM Hattah Desert Race champion Toby Price claimed his third consecutive victory for Motorex KTM Off Road Racing at Mildura in Victoria on 7-8 July. Everything is falling into place for Price this season, winning the Finke Desert Race and currently dominating the Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC). With the addition of another Hattah Desert Race title under his belt, Price sure is stoked.
Attracting over 400 competitors, the Hattah Desert Race was fought out over eight laps of a 35-kilometre loop through unique scrub land, including everything from tight, technical sections winding through trees to wide open blasts through open paddocks and sand hills.
On Saturday, Price qualified fastest in the all-important Prologue, setting the pace with a 3:14.053 sec, a full 4.5 seconds quicker than the remainder of the field. Price was relentless in his quest for victory at Hattah on Sunday, finishing the grueling eight-lap race in four hours, 16 minutes and 21.135 seconds aboard the KTM 450 SX-F.. Price finished 5:48.948sec ahead of his nearest rival Yamaha's Josh Green.
"The Hattah Desert Race came together really well in 2012 and it's definitely nice to get another win under my belt," Price commented. "I was able to qualify fastest in the Prologue, which meant I could take off first and pretty much have a dust-free run on my way to win number three. It was a great win for KTM and for myself."
It was a huge day of firsts for Yamaha's Josh Green - first event on the YZ450F, first attempt of a desert race, first ride back from a broken scaphoid — but none of these obstacles were able to keep the 22-year-old from taking the second step on the podium. "I did have one drama — I was riding my back brake too much and boiled it, which cost me a few minutes," Green said. "Despite this, I finished about five minutes behind Toby Price, so I'm stoked with that. I definitely wasn't expecting to do this well in my first desert attempt. I was only really hoping for a top-10."
Green wasn't the only Yamaha racer on the podium, with his team manager, AJ Roberts, coming third. "It's kinda funny racing against your team manager" said Green. "I mean, he's just another competitor as far as I'm concerned, but I've gotta beat him. I can't not beat him."
The next race on the calendar for all three podium riders is rounds nine and ten of the AORC, being held at Conondale on July 28 and 29.
2012 KTM Hattah Desert Race Top 15 Outright:
1. Toby Price, KTM, 4:16:21.135
2. Josh Green, Yamaha, 4:22:10.083
3. AJ Roberts, Yamaha, 4:24:06.747
4. Warren Smart, Suzuki, 4:26:21.495
5. Peter Boyle, Honda, 4:27:45.191
6. Glenn Kearney, Husqvarna, 4:29:48.316
7. Brad Williscroft, KTM, 4:32:53.332
8. Mitcham Harper, Yamaha, 4:38:54.390
9. Craig Carmichael, KTM, 4:40:34.331
10. Matthew Fish, KTM, 4:42:10.939
11. Simon Thompson, Honda, 4:47:02.091
12. Alex Bolton, KTM, 4:47:54.495
13. Kyle McKeddie, Kawasaki, 4:49:01.140
14. Kurtis Murrya, Honda, 4:51:31.930
15. Ben Burrell, KTM, 4:51:56.313