Desert Racing

Finke Beckons for Husqvarna Motorcycles Desert Racing Team

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South Australian Ivan Long will be looking to go one better in 2018. Photo: Kane O'Rourke
The new-look Husqvarna Motorcycles Desert Racing Team is geared up for the 2018 Tatts Finke Desert Race, set for Alice Springs in the Northern Territory from 8-11 June.

Led by former Dakar Rally racer and renowned domestic competitor David Schwarz, South Australian Ivan Long will be joined by Sam Davie in Husqvarna Motorcycles' factory- backed effort over the Queen's Birthday long weekend in the Top End.

Ivan Long starred on his way to claiming a triumphant second overall in last year's Finke affair aboard a Husqvarna FE 450, earning him class honours in what was an outstanding result for the ever-capable 29-year-old. He was also on the podium in the 2014 edition, recognised as one of Finke's finest competitors year in, year out.

"It's been a hectic lead-up for us heading into Finke, adding another rider to the team after we did well last year," Long said. "It's definitely a good thing for us, the Husqvarna Motorcycles Desert Racing Team has been a really positive step and we are looking forward to getting into the race week now.

"I'll be on the Husqvarna FE 450 again, so it will be good if we can back up that class win again, and if that happens the outright will sort itself out from there," Long continued. "There's been a lot of effort going in off the bike this year, which has been paying off so far in my training, and it should be a really good run down to Finke and back for us once again."
Sam Davie is comfortable at the moment and now look forward to the race to get underway. Photo: Kane O'Rourke
As for emerging Victorian talent Sam Davie, 23, he rode to his career-best Finke Desert Race result one year ago by capturing fifth place overall on-board the Husqvarna FE 501 and will benefit immensely from the experience of joining Schwarz and Long in the official Husqvarna Motorcycles team for 2018.

"I'm excited for this year's race and the support from Husqvarna Motorcycles Australia is really good for us as a team," Davie said. "Working and riding with Ivan has pulled my pace along, so I am really comfortable at the moment and now look forward to the race to get underway. We've been up here three times this year, which has been important, and we've really progressed in terms of the bike settings together. This is the best prepared I have been heading into Finke, so hopefully it goes our way and we can come away with a strong result in the end."

David Schwarz - Team Manager, Husqvarna Motorcycles Desert Racing Team, is obviously keen to get the weekend underway.

"We are really looking forward to the challenge of the Finke Desert Race once again in 2018 after claiming that podium with Ivan last year and also winning his class on the Husqvarna FE 450 was fantastic," Schwarz said.

"When the opportunity came up to be able to run another rider we were happy to have Sam come on-board and to form the Husqvarna Motorcycles Desert Racing Team. We all really appreciate Husqvarna Motorcycles Australia providing the opportunity to run the desert team and, for me personally, it is the next stage in my career, so it is an exciting time together as a team."

The Finke Desert Race is regarded as one of the most prestigious motorsport events in the country, as riders take-on the mammoth 480-kilometre return trip from Alice Springs to Finke on consecutive days, each targeting ultimate glory in the outback.

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