Honda Australia press release:
Mark Grove finished 1st in the 250cc 4-stroke class and 5th outright on the Penrite Honda CRF250R.
In the 44 years of the Finke desert race, the highest position that a 250cc had finished was 9th, which coincidently was Mark’s finish last year. Mark Grove was thrilled after finishing his most challenging race.
“Since 1974 no rider on a 250cc motorcycle had finished inside the top 5 overall. This is a historical achievement for the team, Honda and I. The all new CRF250R was amazing against the larger capacity bikes” said Grove.
This win provided Mark back to back Finke victories.
“Overall I was really happy as we finished 14 minutes quicker on the new CRF250R. It’s a credit to Honda and the Penrite Honda team, the bike is a lot faster and our race times proved it” said Grove.
Caleb Auricht followed Grove in 2nd place and 7th outright on Honda’s new CRF250R.
“I am really happy for the team and I, taking 1st and 2nd in the 250cc class against larger capacity bikes was a victory in itself. This is my highest outright finish in the 250cc class and I am proud of everyone’s efforts” said Auricht. The team also suffered two mechanical DNFs.
Jacob Smith and Callum Norton prologued superbly, respectively claiming 2nd and 4th in class.
“This race is brutal. We pre-ran five times and we didn’t have any mechanical issues. It’s extremely tough as we put ourselves in a competitive position for the overall” said Smith
In Callum Norton’s first attempt at Finke he looked poised for an overall class podium.
“It’s a tough bitter pill to swallow. We prologued well and the race to Finke was amazing. I rode well within my limits. We were sitting 3rd outright and 1st in class. Unfortunately we had a technical problem that forced us out of the race” said Norton.
Penrite Honda’s team director also found it a bitter sweet event –
“This was our first attempt at Finke as a team. We learnt a lot. You can’t truly prepare for this event without first experiencing it.
We will learn from our wins and losses and be better prepared for our next challenge. We will now turn our attention to the Hattah desert race”.