Hometown hero David Walsh has sealed his first ever King of the Desert crown in an emotionally-charged victory at the 2019 Tatts Finke Desert Race. The #2 KTM rider completed a lights-to-flag victory, maintaining the top spot from Prologue through to Finke and back to win the coveted race for the first time. Walsh claimed his maiden win in convincing fashion with a 4 minute and 59 second lead and overall time of 3 hours and 56 minutes. The Alice Springs local was visibly emotional when he took the chequered flag, with the crowd erupting in cheer as he crossed the Start/Finish line in first position.
“I’m blown away,” Walsh said as he fought back tears. “Words cannot describe how I feel right now. I’m just happy to have my family and friends here to help throughout the whole year… they’re just amazing. The work that goes into this and the backing I get from my wife and family is insane so I think it is all worth it.”
2019 was Walsh’s 12th attempt at the Tatts Finke Desert Race, recording a best finish of second three-times previously (2018, 2014 and 2012) – all as runner-up to KTM teammate and six-time King of the Desert Toby Price.
Husqvarna locked-out the remaining positions on the podium with hot race favourites Jacob Smith and Beau Ralston in second and third respectively.
The teammates denied Jack Simpson a return to the Top 3 in 2019 with the Honda rider finishing fourth ahead of Callum Norton in fifth. Sam Davie crossed the line in sixth, with Lachlan Terry almost five-and-a-half minutes adrift in seventh. Mark Grove, Thomas Jones and Nicholas Waters completed the Top 10.
#994 Cooper Van Vliet held on to his overnight lead to join his brothers as Class 9 ATV Finke Champions. While Y75, Craig Spiers maintained his dominance of the over 40’s Quad division to take the class win ahead of Y14 Rick Beer and Y99 Paul Smith.
The 2019 Tatts Finke Desert Race was held in Alice Springs on the Queen’s Birthday weekend from 6-10 June 2019. 2019 was the 20th year of Tatts’ naming-rights partnership of the Finke Desert Race.