Jack Simpson

ShopYamaha Off- Road racer, Jack Simpson and WBR Yamaha’s Maximus Purvis charged to a 3-4 finish at the high profile and prestigious Hattah Desert race on the weekend.

In an action-packed weekend that saw Yamaha riders at the pointy end of the field all race only to fall short  in the closing stages while Will Dennett claimed the class win in the under-19 division. Over 800 riders contested the gruelling sand race and the toll on man and machine is huge after four nonstop hours of racing on torturous terrain.

Will Dennett

ShopYamaha Off Road

It was a case of so close yet so far for the ShopYamaha Off-Road Team. Jack Simpson barely put a foot wrong all weekend, taking the fastest lap in the Prologue and second place in the Top Ten Shoutout directly behind fellow Yamaha rider Maximus Purvis.

With eight laps and four hours of racing ahead of him, Simpson settled into a good pace in the early going and traded positions with Purvis for the race lead. By lap two, Simpson had secured the lead and began to pull away. His speed and consistency saw the gap over his rivals increase with each lap, and by the start of lap six, Simpson was out to a minute’s lead over his nearest rivals.

But, unbeknownst to Simpson or the team, a small stick had penetrated the radiator earlier in the day, and the coolant had slowed and leaked from the bike. He kept forging on, and the WR450F refused to give up, but he lost considerable time on the last refuel when the bike struggled to restart. With a 40-second lead and a lap to go, Simpson had to nurse the bike home in the final thirty minutes but still managed to land on the podium with a third-place finish in a sensational effort.

Maximus Purvis

“I’m just a bit gutted for the team not to get the win,” Simpson said after the race. “We had done so much right during the race, but I just couldn’t push on the final lap, or I might not have made it back.  

“The team did a great job, and the bike was so strong until the last couple of laps, and even then, it just kept on going. This race is tough on everything so to have no coolant effectively and to keep running on a long sand track just shows how tough the WR450F is.

“Despite not winning, I had a great time, and the ShopYamaha team have been so good to work with. We gelled well, and the guys were awesome in their preparations, so I can’t thank them enough for giving me the opportunity to come back and do this race, and I would love to work with them again,” Simpson ends.

Jack Simpsons Shop Yamaha desert race bike

Will Dennett put in a solid effort that went under the radar to win the Under 19 division on his WR450F. After the Prologue, Dennett started from outside the top 30 but relentlessly worked his way through the field to finish sixteenth outright and first in the U19 class.

“Because I hadn’t done this race before, I started my Prologue lap right down the back, and I had a busy track and a lot of riders I had to pass, so I was only able to qualify in 36th. Then it was the same on the opening two laps of the race with a lot of riders going everywhere and it wasn’t until the midway point that things settled down and I was able to start making ground.

“But the big thing for me now is I know what to expect in the future, how better I can prepare and feel I will be better just for having a race under my belt. Thanks to the team on a big weekend,” Dennett ends.

WBR Yamaha

Despite having little time to prepare after recovering from a knee reconstruction, Maximus Purvis jumped right into the pool’s deep end for his first major race since being back on the bike and contested the Hattah desert race for the WBR Yamaha team.

The quietly spoken Kiwi raced to an impressive fourth-place finish and showed he has what it takes to win the event. Purvis started the weekend in good form, taking P2 in the Prologue and then leaping to the number one spot in the top-ten shootout.

Maximus Purvis came out on top in the shootout

Once the race started and after trading blows with Jack Simpson, Purvis settled into second place and found a pace he could maintain until the finish. His biggest issue wasn’t how fast he or the bike was, it was refuelling, and he needed to stop every lap for fuel, proving costly over the four hour duration.

By the midway point Maximus held down second place, but the next lap saw him swallowed up by the riders behind him as he stopped for fuel. He kept up the fight and crossed the finish line in fourth place outright, third in the 450cc division.

“I’m pretty happy with how it all went and considering I haven’t had a lot of ride time since getting back on the bike, I was surprised with how fit I was and able to keep a good pace going.

“The fuel stops hurt me as the other guys could do two laps on a full tank, where as I had to come in each lap, but it’s something to we can learn for next time and hopefully use it to improve our position.

“The WBR guys are awesome to work with and its good to be back racing again,” Purvis said.

MX3 motocross ace Seth Burchell also contested the event with the team. It was his first crack at off-road in some time. Burchell was quick but ultimately lacked the fitness for a four-hour race. He finished eighth in the U19 division but enjoyed his time in the bush.

“I’m exhausted,” Burchell withers at race end. “That is hard work out there and right now I think my back and legs are on fire and my hands are throbbing, but I had a great time and would love to do it again.

“The fitness base for something like this is much different to motocross but as much as I’m smoked now, I really enjoyed it,” he ends.

The ShopYamaha Off Road team now turn their focus to the rounds seven and eight of the AORC while the WBR Yamaha team return to their motocross roots for round six of the ProMX at Toowoomba.