Outright Hattah winner Callum Norton

The 2024 Hattah Desert Race was a successful one for KTM riders this weekend, with STE Racing’s Callum Norton taking a dramatic victory on the final lap, while KTM DM31 Racing’s Daniel Milner claimed a hard-fought top-five result on his return to the iconic Victorian event. KTM-equipped riders filled six of the top 10 outright places, with US-based riders Gus Riordan supported locally by Mototech KTM – winner of the 450 Four-Stroke division – and STE Racing-backed Sam Pretscherer finishing P2 and P7, respectively, local rider Corey Hammond was P9, and KTM-supported off-road talent Riley McGillivray cracked the top 10.

Adding to the top results, KTM DM31 Racing recruit Tom Buxton won the Up To 250 Four-Stroke class in his first-ever showing at the legendary event.

Callum came out on top against a star-studded field

After qualifying third, the STE Racing rider Norton dropped a few places early on, but regrouped to push his way back into second place. An extended final pitstop from the leader saw Norton unknowingly inherit the lead as he headed out for the final lap, and he eventually took a memorable first Hattah Desert Race win.

Further back, Milner was unlucky to miss out on making the Top 10 Shootout on Saturday when he set the 11th-fastest time in the Prologue, but the former Hattah winner put his head down and went to work once the real battle commenced on Sunday. Riding a KTM 450 SX-F, he made early moves up the leaderboard, then played a patient game to finish a hard-fought fifth outright and fourth in class.

Top five outright for Daniel Milner

After making an error in the Prologue, KTM-supported McGillivray also made big moves up the order throughout race-day Sunday. Despite still recovering from a broken shoulder, the teenager pushed his KTM 500 EXC-F hard to muscle his way to P10 outright and fifth in the Over 450 Four-Stroke class.

Riley McGillvray finished in the top 10

Meanwhile, in his first-ever showing at the punishing desert race, New Zealand revelation Buxton – under the mentorship of Milner – finished the day as the clear winner of the Up To 250 Four-Stroke category. Aboard a KTM 250 SX-F, he finished more than seven and a half minutes ahead of second place, also earning an impressive 25th outright.

Tom Buxton came out on top in the up-to-250 4-stroke category
Gus Riordan made the trek back from his busy U.S schedule to claim 2nd outright

Callum Norton: “It was a massive day, and I’m stuffed! The boys pushed hard all day. I had a little drama early on and dropped a few places, but I thought, ‘this race is four hours long and you never know what can happen.’ I was really tired on the last lap and honestly thought I was still in second place until I got a pit-board saying P1, with about 10 minutes to go… I couldn’t believe it! It sucks to win when the guy ahead of you ran such a great race, you never want to win like that, but we’ve all had bad luck in racing, so I’ll take it. I’m stoked to get this first win – it’s been a long time coming.”

Daniel Milner: “This was my first Hattah in a few years and I’d forgotten how gnarly it is! I had an average Prologue and that made for a difficult race for me. I’ve always led from the front, so it was different having to push hard for the first lap to try and make as many moves as possible. The boys were all riding fast and I struggled to keep that pace – I burnt myself out a bit, to be honest, as putting on a charge takes so much energy out of you. It was interesting to be in that position for a change, but it’s always cool coming back to this event.”

Tom Buxton: “Hattah was a bit of an eye-opener. I’ve never really done any racing like that before, and the rough track was tough on the body. I just kept trying to move forward all race and focused on keeping things smooth, as it’s one of those tracks that can bite you quickly if you lose concentration. Winning my class was a pretty awesome result in my first attempt. I’m stoked about how the whole weekend went!”

Riley McGillivray: “I didn’t ride much in the lead-up to this weekend as my shoulder was still sore after breaking my AC joint and scapula at the Edenhope AORC round. Considering everything, I feel okay now, even though all the square-edged bumps gave my shoulder a good beating. For the race, I pushed early as I wasn’t sure how my shoulder would hold up and I wanted to make the most of it while it felt good. The race went smoothly, a top 10 overall is my best result at Hattah, and considering I’m not 100 percent, it’s made me really keen for the next few years.”

2024 Hattah Desert Race – Hattah, VIC

Outright results:
1. Callum Norton (KTM)
2. Angus Riordan (KTM)
3. Jack Simpson (Yamaha)
4. Maximus Purvis (Yamaha)
5. Daniel Milner (KTM)
7. Sam Pretscherer (KTM)
9. Corey Hammond (KTM)

10. Riley McGillivray (KTM)
25. Tom Buxton (KTM)

Photos: Foremost Media