An incredible weekend for the Schwarz Husqvarna Desert Team at the 2019 Finke Desert Race has been signed off with a double podium result, as riders Jacob Smith and Beau Ralston completed the rostrum in positions two and three overall.
Smith, piloting a Husqvarna Motorcycles FE 501, prologued in P4 before making significant progress in Sunday’s opening 226-kilometre journey, entering Finke in second place, five minutes behind the leader.
In an impressive display of riding, Smith charged his way back to Alice Springs to be the fastest rider on return, however, he was unable to bridge the gap to race winner David Walsh, ultimately scoring runner-up honours.
Also equipped with the Husqvarna Motorcycles FE 501, Ralston emerged with a career-best result at Finke, storming home to land on the podium. After completing the prologue in sixth, he quickly ascended through the field and crossed the line at Finke in third. A stellar ride upon return to Alice Springs on Sunday saw Ralston able to maintain the position for hismaiden podium appearance.
Rounding out the line-up of Husqvarna Motorcycles-supported FE 501s, Sam Davie rode supremely well in a demanding Finke campaign. After a prologue result of seventh, Davie gritted his way through a challenging two days of racing, carrying sixth all the way through to the chequered flag on Sunday. The trio of riders, all competing within the Class 2 division, completed positions two, three and four in the category, adding to a remarkable weekend.
David Schwarz – Team Manager, Schwarz Husqvarna Desert Team: “It’s been a great effort by the boys and it’s great to get them all home, being a relatively new team. It’s been a 12-month process to try and get it to where it is, so it’s rewarding to have two of three riders on the podium. To Jacob’s credit, he managed to get on the box even though six weeks ago it didn’t look like he would make it and, for Beau to join him, it’s just amazing. Sam also put on a great ride, his hands are pretty sore after losing a Stegpeg, but it’s so good to see him with a strong result being a young guy.”
Jacob Smith – Husqvarna FE 501: “Six weeks ago, laying in a hospital bed here in Alice Springs with a few injuries, I’m just so happy to be here on the podium. I knew David had a fair gap and five minutes is a long way, so I was trying to just keep my position today and go as hard as I could so the guys behind didn’t catch me. I made some time at the second fuel stop, so I just coasted into town and didn’t do anything silly.”
Beau Ralston – Husqvarna FE 501: “I’m stoked to finish, let alone get on the podium after my last couple of years being injured. The Schwarz Husqvarna Desert Team has put in a huge effort to get us out here this year and I really appreciate it. I was over two minutes behind Jake and I was fresh, so I thought I was going to have a good crack at reeling him in, but I didn’t anticipate what the cars were going to do to the track. I had some really hairy moments, so I just backed off to get home in one piece for a podium finish.”
Sam Davie – Husqvarna FE 501: “Sixth wasn’t what I was aiming for at the start of the year, but with the way the weekend played out, I don’t think I could’ve done much better. I lost a Stegpeg yesterday, which cost me some time, and then my hand blew apart because I was trying to hang on so tight. Today was pretty much about getting it home, and I’m quite satisfied with the overall result, so thank you to everybody involved.”
2019 Finke Desert Race results:
1. David Walsh (KTM)
2. Jacob Smith (Husqvarna)
3. Beau Ralston (Husqvarna)
4. Jack Simpson (Honda)
5. Callum Norton (KTM)
6. Sam Davie (Husqvarna)