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Electrical issue denies Sanders shot at Hattah victory | News

Defending Hattah Desert Race champion Daniel Sanders was in contention for the win at this year's event until an electrical issue cost him almost 20 minutes and a chance at victory.

After taking victory one year ago in the high-profile event near Mildura, Victoria, the Husqvarna Enduro Racing team rider posted the second-quickest lap in Saturday’s Prologue at 2m46.488s and was in the frame for a repeat result today.

Equipped with the powerful Husqvarna FE 501, Sanders immediately established himself at the front of the field on race-day Sunday, which was greeted with torrential rain-soaked, muddy conditions.

It appeared Sanders was on his way to the win until prevalent water caused a suspected problem with the electrics, forcing him to stop and rectify the issue with timely assistance from his Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team crew.

Despite losing around 20 minutes, he went on to claim 14th position outright and seventh in the Over 450cc 4-Stroke category. Organisers stopped this year’s edition at halfway following four laps of a scheduled eight, as conditions deteriorated around the high-speed 37-kilometre circuit.

Daniel Sanders – Husqvarna FE 501: “It’s very disappointing because the team and I put a lot of effort into this one event each year. Obviously the weather today played a part and we started strongly, but unfortunately, the issue meant we gave away the win because I felt as though the race was mine at that point. The track was full of puddles because of the rain falling and we were hitting them at high-speed, so that could have led to the problem. We ended up getting going again and I brought it home to the finish, but it wasn’t to be today.”

The second of the Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team entries, Fraser Higlett, encountered difficulties of his own in qualifying and started from 38th, but quickly sliced his way to sixth in the opening laps of the race on-board the Husqvarna FE 450. Treacherous conditions ultimately ended his day on lap three.

Fraser Higlett – Husqvarna FE 450: “Today was a rough one for me in the end, but I did my best toward the start of the race and we were looking good for a number of laps. I charged through the field in the tough conditions all the way up to sixth, so that was positive and I was feeling good in the mud. To start out of 38th definitely made things harder than they could have been and I’m disappointed with how the race finished for me, but we will be back and I will see what I can do next year.”

The Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team will now set its sights upon the fifth and sixth rounds of the 2019 Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC), scheduled for 20-21 July in Kyogle, New South Wales.

Christian Horwood – Team Manager, Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team: “All the boxes were ticked leading into Hattah this year and we were hoping for a strong result, especially after ‘Chucky’ was second in the Prologue. In the race he quickly got into the lead and was in a great position, before the torrential rain came and certainly made things challenging. He had a lead of over one-minute following a couple of laps, however, unfortunately, water in the electrics caused a problem toward the beginning of lap four. It was positive to see him get across the finish-line though to complete the race in the end. Fraser had a difficult Prologue, but he was so impressive in going from 38th to sixth in those conditions prior to going out of the race – it was amazing to see. Months of preparation goes into this event and it is a very important event for us, so it’s been disappointing but the potential was definitely clear.”