Mark Grove, Jack Simpson and Jack Dooley McDonnell are ready to rip into the Finke Desert Race on board their Penrite Honda Racing CRF450R machines.
Mark Grove had a very successful ride last year, coming away with first in class and finishing 5th outright on a CRF250R (250cc 4-stroke) which also marked the highest outright finish for a 250 4-stroke rider. The team wanted Grove to step up to a CRF450R this year knowing he would be more than ready for the challenge.
“It’s a big change riding a 450 but I wanted a new challenge and I appreciate Honda giving me the opportunity to race in the 450 class. I don’t know how I am going to finish but I am aiming to be on the podium in our class and inside the top 10 outright,” said Grove.
Jack Simpson had a very successful race last year as well so his goals for his 2019 campaign are to improve on those results, which can be a tough feat considering the unpredictable nature of the event.
“I finished 3rd outright last year but I didn’t even line up the year before because of a crash during pre-running. I am looking forward to lining up this year and my goal is the same as it is every year. I believe we have the bike to finish on the podium outright. We are also chasing an overall in our class,” Simpson said.
Alice Springs local racer Jack Dooley McDonnell is excited to be racing again after his past few seasons were riddled with injury.
“It’s awesome to be racing again and to be a part of Factory Honda is unbelievable. I feel ready, testing has been outstanding and I feel comfortable on the bike and on the track,” Dooley-McDonnell said.
Team Manager Mark Sladek is confident in the teams’ preparation leading up to the race. Sladek is is no stranger to Finke, having been a podium place class finisher, he knows what it takes to be competitive.
“We are ready, the bikes are strong and we have ticked all the boxes leading up to Finke. Our goals are clear, we need to be solid in prologue and all of our guys need to be inside the top 10 outright.” Sladek said.
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