Dealer-backed Husqvarna racers Ivan Long and Fraser Higlett have landed sensational results at the annual Penrite Hattah Desert Race south of Mildura, with standout outright performances and runner-up positions in class.
Hot on the heels of his sensational maiden podium finish at Finke a month ago, South Australian desert specialist Ivan Long made his Husqvarna FE 450 the only non-KTM in the outright top five, with fifth overall.
Long took a solid decking on the opening lap when another rider fell right in front of him, but shook off the physical effects, and the disgrace of that dirt biker‰Ûªs worst nightmare ‰ÛÒ racing without a helmet peak ‰ÛÒ to lead the 450cc 4T category for most of the event.
Long posted the fastest lap in his class, but as the gnarly, chopped out terrain eventually took its toll, he was ultimately run down in the last five minutes of the race by teenage motocrosser Callum Norton, and finished less than 14 seconds off the class win.
‰ÛÏI‰Ûªm stoked to be second in class and inside the top ten outright. We had a bit of an idea of where we wanted to be, and we exceeded that," Long said.
"We qualified 12th, so we had a little bit of work to do. We got to fifth, but on the first lap someone went down in front of me and I clipped him and had a big endo into the trees. I tweaked my neck a little bit and damaged my helmet, but we recovered from that and got back up there.
"It was very, very choppy with some big-time square edges, so it made it real tough to keep the bike pointed forwards.
"Young Callum got me five kilometres from the finish on the last lap! He was the man on the mission in the last couple of laps, and by then I literally had no energy left in my legs. He rode a really good race by the sound of it, so good on him.
"We still want to do more desert racing yet; we‰Ûªve got Yellow Mountain that we wouldn‰Ûªt mind having a go of in about a month‰Ûªs time.
"This FE 450 is a hell of a weapon ‰ÛÒ we pulled it out of the box a week before Finke and she‰Ûªs a bog stock engine with suspension, tyres and a steering damper, but apart from that, pretty much standard," Long concluded.