Off-Road Observer: 18
The Yamaha WR450F features a five valve fuel injected engine housed in a YZ250F chassis. The current model WR450F heralds the biggest change since the introduction of that first WR400F. Yamaha designers, testers and engineers have revisited the drawing board and re-invented the new WR450F from the ground up.
Enduro expert Adam Riemann shares his insight into the world of off-road, presented by Yamaha.
You haven’t ridden mud until you’ve ridden the Kamfari Mud Race in the steaming crocodile swamps of the Northern Territory.
Enduring four hours sweating it out in over 30 degree heat through the deepest bogs you’ll ever ride a dirt bike through, the 41st running of this great mud race was run and won over the weekend, marking the sixth consecutive win for Motorex KTM Offroad’s Brad Williscroft – aka the Mud Boss!
Treated like off-road royalty, the Mud Boss is a big draw card for the event, generating widespread exposure throughout the top-end as local TV and newspapers have cameras in his face the minute he stops off the plane in Darwin.
I’ve actually seen it first hand while competing against him in the Kamfari back in ’07. On arrival, the Mud Boss is quickly surrounded by an entourage of fanatical followers who chauffer him around, help prepare his bike and treat him to the local spoils of seafood and fruits native to Darwin’s tropical climate.
On race day though, it’s strictly business for the Mud Boss and keeps his eye firmly on the prize. $3000 in fact. Despite the gruelling terrain, it was Williscroft’s easiest win in the Kamfari.
“I basically took off from the start and got clear of the other riders, then settled into a fast trail pace,” he said. “I tip-toed cautiously through the real wet stuff, picked the cleanest lines I could through the bogs, then stepped it up a bit on the dry ground. I was trying to conserve myself for a big week ahead of pre-running at Finke, so I only really did what I had to do for the win.”
Meanwhile, several hours south in the centre of Australia at Alice Springs, Toby Price had already arrived in preparation for a week of pre-running and testing for the Finke Desert Race.
Fresh from the Kamfari, team manager Williscroft rejoins his team as the second rider for their 2012 campaign. Following the recent injury of reigning Finke champion Ben Grabham, the team has been reduced to three riders, but defending AORC number one Chris Hollis has opted to stand down from the desert racing outfit and concentrate on the remainder of the AORC and upcoming A4DE.
Now with two bikes down, Williscroft made the decision to bring Matt Fish on board as the third rider aboard Hollis’ 450 SX-F Finke weapon.
“This is a good opportunity for Fishy, but also a benefit to our Finke team this year,” he added. “Fishy has so much experience in the desert having placed on the podium at the Australasian Safari, being a top-ten finisher here at Finke and more recently running top ten at the Abu Dhabi Desert Rally in Dubai.”
As for the Desert King, Ben Grabham, in honour of the Finke champion, KTM Australia will not replace his ride at Finke, but will have the number one bike on display during the event. After all, who do you get to replace a four-time Finke Desert Race Champion?
So if you’re reading this column from the comforts of your office or sitting on the couch with your iPhone, just know that for the next week, the Motorex KTM Off-Road boys will be testing their bikes at speeds over 160kph up and down the Finke track!