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Local legend, HMG Motorsport KTM's David Walsh clinches fifth-straight Finke Desert Race victory with a dominant display at the 2024 event.

Alice Springs desert racing legend David Walsh has continued to etch his name in the Tatts Finke Desert Race history books by claiming his fifth-consecutive ‘King of the Desert’ crown in the 2024 edition, equalling the event’s longest-ever win streak.

Despite starting behind his main rivals after a third-placed Prologue on Saturday, the HMG Motorsport KTM racer powered through the gruelling 226km stage from Alice Springs to Finke (Aputula) yesterday.

Walsh’s blistering time of 1h47m36.812s saw him chase down the riders ahead of him, then build a comfortable 2m47s buffer over fellow KTM contender, Callum Norton (STE Racing).

Equipped with the all-new 2024 KTM 500 EXC-F, the 34-year-old Walsh played a smart return leg back to Alice Springs today, as his nearest competitors desperately tried to close the gap and halt his dominance.

When both stages were tallied, Walsh finished with a time of 3h38m12s, just 47 seconds ahead of second-placed Norton. KTM also filled four of the top five overall positions for the weekend.

Walsh’s victory saw him equal Randall Gregory’s five-year domination achieved between 1991 to 1995, and has managed to continue his remarkable record of finishing on the podium at every Finke he’s completed since 2012.

Meanwhile, HMG Motorsport KTM teammate Liam Walsh’s weekend got off to a flying start when he logged the fastest Prologue time aboard his 2024 KTM 500 EXC-F. That meant he started the opening leg of the desert race at the front of the pack.

Unfortunately, after getting chased down by his cousin, David Walsh, and Norton, the 23-year-old endured a big crash just before the first refuel station and his promising weekend ended with a fractured wrist.

David Walsh: “Being a local and growing up watching Finke, I never thought I’d be lucky enough to win it once and now I’ve won it five times in a row. I feel very honoured to match Randall Gregory’s record – he was an idol of mine growing up. I honestly thought the boys had my number this year, and I was a bit concerned when my cousin [Liam] set a blistering Prologue time. Yesterday, I put my head down and went hard for the first 70km and caught the boys, then was able to relax and cruise it into Finke. Today I knew they were going to be charging to get me, but I just had to get through all the big stuff and make sure I stayed safe. There’s a lot of nasty stuff out there, but that’s Finke, and that’s what makes it the best race in the country.”

Liam Walsh: “The event started really well for me. The aim was to go out and do a smooth, clean lap in Prologue, and that’s what I did. I had the same aim coming into Saturday, but it ended badly. David passed us at about the 70km mark and I pulled back to give myself some room. Then I started to catch Callum again, and I think I just got a bit excited. I got into a bit of dust and lost control in some deep whoops about 500m before the refuel station. It was a pretty big, fifth-gear crash and I ended up with a fractured wrist. We’ll find out next week if I need surgery, but at a minimum I’m out for six weeks and will miss Hattah. I should be back in time for the Don River Dash in September, though. It was a disappointing end to this year’s race, but I’ll look at the big picture – I’m only 23, so I’ve still got plenty of Finke years ahead of me.”

2024 Finke Desert Race Bike results:
1. David Walsh (HMG Motorsport KTM) 3h38m12.583s
2. Callum Norton (STE Racing KTM) 3h38m59.445s
3. Korey McMahon (GASGAS) 3h40m04.161s
4. Corey Hammond (KTM) 3h44m46.484s
5. Luke Hayes (KTM) 3h47m23.716s