News 12 Jun 2024

Fifth-straight Finke victory puts Walsh in history books

Alice Springs ace matches Randall Gregory following 2024 edition.

Image: Supplied.

Winning a fifth-consecutive Finke Desert Race saw HMG Motorsport KTM’s David Walsh match childhood hero Randall Gregory in achieving the feat, placing himself in the history books and now sitting just one victory away from Toby Price’s benchmark of six in total.

Walsh has won Finke every year it’s been held since 2019, which matched Honda icon Randall’s streak set between 1991-1995. Price, meanwhile, won in 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018 prior to topping the car category on six occasions from 2021-2023.

Alice Springs local Walsh has been the class of Finke onboard his 500 EXC-F since finally breaking through to win six years ago – the 2020 edition cancelled altogether as a result of the pandemic – and started third following Saturday’s Prologue won by cousin and HMG teammate Liam Walsh.

The 34-year-old Walsh powered through the gruelling 226km stage from Alice Springs to Finke Sunday, and then brought it home to the chequered flag on Sunday in a total time of 3h38m12s, just 47 seconds ahead of second-placed Callum Norton (STE Racing KTM). GASGAS-backed Korey McMahon was third on the new EC 500F.

“Being a local and growing up watching Finke, I never thought I’d be lucky enough to win it once and now I’ve won it five times in a row,” Walsh recalled. “I feel very honoured to match Randall Gregory’s record – he was an idol of mine growing up. I honestly thought the boys had my number this year, and I was a bit concerned when my cousin [Liam] set a blistering Prologue time.

“Yesterday, I put my head down and went hard for the first 70km and caught the boys, then was able to relax and cruise it into Finke. Today I knew they were going to be charging to get me, but I just had to get through all the big stuff and make sure I stayed safe. There’s a lot of nasty stuff out there, but that’s Finke, and that’s what makes it the best race in the country.”

Walsh’s victory also meant that he has managed to continue his remarkable record of finishing on the podium at every Finke he’s completed since 2012. It’s uncertain whether he will defend the title in 2025 in a bid to crack Price’s tally of being crowned King of the Desert in the Bike category on six occasions.