Desert Racing

Callum Norton Takes Dramatic 2024 Hattah Desert Race Win

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Photo of Callum Norton at the 2024 Hattah Desert Race
Callum Norton took the 2004 Hatah Desert Race win by just over a minute.

The 2024 Hattah Desert Race was a successful one for Callum Norton taking a dramatic victory on the final lap.

 Over 800 riders contested the gruelling sand race and the toll on man and machine is huge after four nonstop hours of racing on torturous terrain.

After qualifying third STE Racing’s Norton dropped a few places early on but regrouped to push his way back into second place. An extended final pitstop from the leader Jack Simpson saw Norton unknowingly inherit the lead as he headed out for the final lap, and he eventually took a memorable first Hattah Desert Race win.

Photo of Callum Norton at the 2024 Hattah Desert Race
The 2024 Hatah Desert Race was a nice pay day for Callum Norton.

“It was a massive day and I’m stuffed! The boys pushed hard all day,” Norton said. “I had a little drama early on and dropped a few places, but I thought, ‘this race is four hours long and you never know what can happen.’ I was really tired on the last lap and honestly thought I was still in second place until I got a pit-board saying P1, with about 10 minutes to go… I couldn’t believe it! It sucks to win when the guy ahead of you ran such a great race, you never want to win like that, but we’ve all had bad luck in racing, so I’ll take it. I’m stoked to get this first win – it’s been a long time coming.”

Angus Riordan claimed second just over one minute back from Norton while Jack Simpson rounded out the top three, a further minute back.

Photo of Callum Norton at the 2024 Hattah Desert RacePhoto of Angus Riodan at the 2024 Hattah Desert Race
Angus Riordon took second overall, a little over a minute behind Norton.

Third-placed Jack Simpson barely put a foot wrong all weekend, taking the fastest lap in the Prologue then a second place in the Top Ten Shoutout.

With eight laps and four hours of racing ahead of him, Simpson settled into a good pace in the early going and traded positions with Kwiw Max Purvis for the race lead. By lap two, Simpson had secured the lead and began to pull away. His speed consistently saw the gap over his rivals increase with each lap and by the start of lap six, Simpson was out to a minute lead over his nearest rivals.

But, unbeknown to Simpson or the team, a small stick had penetrated the radiator earlier in the day and coolant slowed leaked from the bike. He kept forging on and the WR450F refused to give up, but he lost considerable time on the last refuel when the bike struggled to restart. With a 40-second lead and a lap to go, Simpson had to nurse the bike home in the final thirty minutes but still managed to land on the podium with a third-place finish in a sensational effort.

“I’m just a bit gutted for the team to not get the win,” Simpson said after the race. “We had done so much right during the race, but I just couldn’t push on the final lap, or I might not have made it back.   

“The team did a great job, and the bike was so strong until the last couple of laps and even then, it just kept on going. This race is tough on everything so to effectively have no coolant and to keep running on a long sand track just shows how tough the WR450F really is.

“Despite not winning, I had a great time and the ShopYamaha team have been so good to work with. We gelled well and the guys were awesome in their preparations so I can’t thank them enough for giving me the opportunity to come back and do this race and I would love to work with them again,” Simpson concluded.

Photo of Jack Simpson at the 2024 Hattah Desert Race
Jack Simpson led most of the 2024 Hatah Desert race until a stick in his radiator saw him drop back on the final lap, ultimately finishing third.

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