SWAN Hill local Samuel Monk will this weekend take part in Australia’s biggest motorcycle race – the 2016 Penrite Hattah Desert Race – at Mildura’s Northwest Victorian Motorcycle Club which starts this Friday, July 1.
The budding racer is excited to get involved in his first-ever Penrite Hattah Desert Race after just missing out on entering the event last year. “I missed out on entries last year so I just got in for this year so I’m pretty excited,” the 15-year-old said. “I’ve been doing a lot of other enduros at Boundary Bend where I’ve been going alright so I’m pretty keen for Hattah,” Sam added.
Hattah, which has been running for more than 15 years, now attracts hundreds of riders (last year saw a total of 605 competitors; 205 Juniors and 400 Seniors) from not only Australia, but also internationally, to compete on a challenging course that includes dust, dirt, mud, and sand which has tight corners that demand agility, finesse as well as brute speed.
Sam will be competing in the 200cc-250cc 4-stroke 13 to Under 16 class at this year’s race, which consists of 10 x 15 kilometre laps that will take approximately 2 hours to complete. “I’ve been getting my bike ready in the shed making sure it’s all good to go for the weekend. I’ve been training hard, competing in all those enduros and testing at the farm,” he said.
Northwest Victorian Motorcycle Club Race Secretary Gary Leeson says the host club has been busy welcoming 250 junior riders and 350 senior riders for this weekend. “We’ve increased the junior entries this year to allow for about 50 more. The weather conditions are pretty good at the moment. There’s plenty of moisture in the track. There should be very little dust, we hope. All the track has been prepped, drummed, and signed so we’re ready to go,” Gary said.
Sam is hopeful that his preparations for the event will help him crack the top 20 this weekend: “They say that the course at Mallee is not that different to the courses around the Swan Hill area. I’d like to finish in the top 30 or 20 in the juniors. I just get a real thrill out of going about 130 kilometres an hour down a paddock,” he added.
“I’d really like to Top Notch Power Equipment, Ty Rayfield (Zipfix), Warren from Swan Hill Honda, and my Mum and Dad for all their amazing support,” Sam said.
Sam said he also plans to take part in the Farmer’s Pony Express, a gruelling three-hour enduro, also at Mildura’s NWVMC in August.
Scrutineering for the 2016 Penrite Hattah Desert Race takes place on 4-8pm on Friday night at Quandong Park Sports Reserve at Red Cliffs, whilst the Junior Hattah Desert Race will rev into action on Saturday, July 2 at 7.30am. For further information on the 2016 Hattah Desert Race please visit: www.northwestvicmcc.com.au/hattah.