Riley Graham has won the long running SA 24 Hour Reliability Trails event held over the weekend with Sean Throupe finishing second and Kyan Haydon third.
The 24-Hour Trial, historically known as the 24-Hour Reliability Trial, has been running since 1924 and is Australia’s oldest motorcycle race. It comprises four six-hour laps with each lap consisting of 12 competitive sections, which are timed (the rider with the lowest cumulative time wins) and 13 transit legs. Three evenly spread fuel stops allow 15 minutes for basic motorcycle maintenance and rider sustenance. Outside assistance is not permitted.
Nearing its 100th year, the event continues to be a drawcard for riders who are willing to take on the elements as well as test the limits of their bike and body.
Contested in cold, yet clear conditions in the South Australian wilderness, near Kapunda, Riley Graham became a two-timing winner with his 2022 victory in an impressive performance that sits right alongside his previous win in 2018. Behind him, fellow WR450F mounted Sean Troupe, himself a winner on three previous occasions.
At 11 am on Saturday, a contingent of around 150 riders rolled out of the start chute and onto the course proper where a series of twelve checkpoints make up one complete lap. One lap takes about six hours and that includes fuel stops and any running repairs with a total distance of just under 1000 kilometres for the event. Then take in the dark, the cold, and the sleep deprivation and it is one tough race to contest. It’s even tougher to win.
It has been a grueling couple of weeks for Riley Graham. Just last week he charged to a top ten finish in the Hattah Desert Race, an event that is taxing as it is enjoyable and despite some late race cramping and exhaustion he was still primed and ready to put his body and bike through another weekend of torture. Just seven days later he rolls across the finish line to take a well-earned victory in the SA 24 Hour race.
It was a hassle-free run for Graham and apart from a couple of small falls in the middle of the night, he had no issues with his bike or his body. He took control of the race right from the get-go and increased his lead with each passing lap to take a comfortable victory, the second of his career.
“I don’t have too many highlights to tell you, to be honest,” Graham declared after the race. “The bike was perfect all weekend and we did little more than throw some fuel in at each stop and give it a quick check over. So, it was just smooth sailing right the way through from the bike’s point of view.
“I had a couple of crashes overnight, both just buried the front tyre in some bulldust that was hard to see in the night. Both were my fault but they were pretty harmless and didn’t cost me much time. Other than some tiredness just before the sun came up, I was good and finished the last lap with good pace.
“Thanks to my crew for looking after me all weekend and everyone who put in the pre-event preparation. It’s not an easy event to do but I had some great help and thankful to everyone that came out and supported me,” Graham ends.
Sean Throupe was out to rack up his fourth 24 Hour victory but came up one position short to finish second in the 2022 event behind his Yamaha counterpart. Also competing on a WR450F, Throupe slotted in behind Graham on the opening lap while he was right in the mix, he never was able to claw his way to the lead. He remained well clear of those behind him, so his second-place finish was on the cards unless and mistake came from Graham, and it never did.
“I would love to have won today but Riley was just too good and deserved his victory. I was able to sit at a comfortable pace the entire 24hours but not get close enough to him to really poor the pressure on. He just inched out his lead on each lap and didn’t make any costly mistakes that I could capitalise on., so congratulations to Riley and his team.
“We had no issues ourselves and to have two basically standard WR450F’s with big head lights go 1-2 in the event and get through with no problems at all is a huge testament to the bike and how well suited it is for Australian conditions.
“It’s a tough event to do but I always look back at it as a lot of fun. I won my first one back in 2013, so it would be nice to celebrate the 10year anniversary with another victory, so after a long sleep tonight, I might start work on the 2023 version as soon as I can,” Throupe laughs.
Cameron Donald, a two-time Isle of Man TT champion and avid off-road rider and racer set himself a mission to do the event the Tiger 1200 Rally Pro which made for an unusual sight among a sea of lightweight enduro bikes. Finsihing 60th Donald acheived his mission.
“Physically, that was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done on a motorcycle,” Donald said. “To ride out there in that terrain on these bikes over four six-hour laps for 24 hours was such a battle. It was brutal.
“A lot of people told us we were crazy, not expecting us to finish a single lap let alone four laps to finish the race. Worse yet, an experienced competitor who’s finished the race 24 times said this year’s course was by far technically most difficult.
“The weight of a 1200cc adventure bike didn’t make it easy against lightweight enduro bikes, but I was constantly amazed by how well the new Tiger 1200 got through the terrain. There was nothing it couldn’t do,” Donal concluded.
The event also runs a sidecar class where Shane Beckmann and Brian Anthony took the win ahead of Bradley Hunter and Ryan Pritchard. Mark Launer and Tyson Rohrlach rounded out the podium. sixteen of the twenty five sidecar entries made it to the finish.
2022 24-Hour Reliability Trial Top Ten
1 81 Riley Graham
2 66 Sean Throup
3 74 Kyan Haydon
4 72 Clinton Voigt
5 78 Charlie Milton
6 80 Todd Muster
7 70 Adam Wright
8 69 Anthony Diener
9 71 Damien Jenke
10 149 Jesse Roesler