The 2023 Hattah Desert Race featured a wide range of strong results from KTM-supported riders across the weekend in far-west Victoria, headlined by Mason Semmens on Sunday after he captured the outright victory at the notoriously tough, four-hour event.
Qualifying in the Top 10 Shootout was led by STE Racing’s Callum Norton, who posted a lap time that was over a second clear of second position. Semmens’ time was good enough for fourth, while off-road regular Andy Wilksch qualified in ninth. Outside the 10 sat Riley McGillivray in 12th, Angus Riordan in 17th, and HMG Motorsport KTM desert racer Liam Walsh in 30th.
Sunday’s eight-lap race began with 22-year-old Semmens (Trail Jesters KTM Racing Team) making a succession of quick moves into third, before steadily hunting down the leaders and making the move for the lead at the midway mark. From there the US-based Victorian managed the lead until the chequered flag flew in a total time of 4h28m13.419s, marking his first Hattah overall and the 251cc-450cc four-stroke class win.
FMF RPM KTM Racing Team rider Riordan charged to fourth-place outright by race’s end, securing third place in class and climbing an impressive 13 places throughout the race. Walsh, too, put on an impressive charge, working his way to a fifth-place result in the over 450cc category and 12th outright.
For Wilksch and Norton, a crash for the former while passing for sixth saw him retire on lap six after tweaking his back, while –fresh from a Finke Desert Race podium – Norton encountered troubles and rode home to 15th place in class for the 2023 edition. The weekend also saw KTM-mounted Tom Mason power his 250 SX-F to the quarter-litre four-stroke class victory and 15th outright.
Mason Semmens: “What a weekend! The prologue went smoothly, managed P7 in the first run and then a nice fourth place in the Top 10 Shootout, which I was happy with and achieved a good starting position for Sunday. I got off to a good start for the main race, had some great battles with Callum and Jack [Simpson], before managing my way into the lead and from there kept chugging along to get the win. I can’t put into words how much this means to me, it’s a dream come true, and I am absolutely stoked!”
Meanwhile GasGas-backed racer Korey McMahon continues to prove his versatility after blasting his way to an outright podium result in Sunday’s race. In near-perfect racing conditions, the 21-year-old and his GASGAS MC 450F got off to a clean start, courtesy of a third-place qualifying result in the Top 10 Shootout.
Capitalising on a mistake from one of the front-runners early in the 304-kilometre race, McMahon moved into third. Despite having a big crash himself on the second lap and the track getting progressively rougher, he continued to punch out fast, consistent times to ultimately finish third outright, behind second placed Husqvarna rider Jack Simpson.
Korey McMahon: “This year’s Hattah was very rough and has to rate as one of the hardest races I’ve ever done! The times blew out a lot with how rough it got… I felt good all the way through the race, but I had a big get-off on the second lap and, as a result, I got stuck behind a couple of riders and was able to get around them in the pits. From that point on, it was about trying to keep it on two wheels, and I’m stoked to finish in the top three outright and achieve my best result at Hattah.”
2023 Hattah Desert Race // Senior Outright results:
1. Mason Semmens (KTM) 4h28m13.419s
2. Jack Simpson (Husqvarna) 4h31m26.325s
3. Korey McMahon (GASGAS) 4h33m32.844s
4. Angus Riordan (KTM) 4h38m37.302s
5. Corey Hammond (KTM) 4h43m50.820s