Yamaha Claim Class Crowns
Not only did Yamaha claim the top spot in the motorcycle division with Daymon Stokie winning the prestigious off road event, Yamaha also did exceptionally well in other racing categories contested over the weekend in a strong showing for Yamaha racing in the great Australian outback.
Yamaha Claim Class Crowns at 2017 Finke
Yamaha and the YXZ1000R dominated the Under 1200cc UTV division taking the top five positions in a complete sweep of the class, while it was an all blue podium in the ATV section with Yamaha mounted riders taking the top three positions.
The Yamaha Motor Australia/ WPS team of Jake and Aiden Williams took the race win after an eventful two days out in the Northern Territory wilderness. On day one, the boys had some difficulties and made to Finke in fifth place but were confident of a better showing on the return run back to Alice Springs the following day.
And that's exactly what happened. The brothers unleashed a blistering return time to not only make up the 14-minute deficit from day one but blast their way into the lead and take the race win by just over a minute in an amazing comeback drive from the Williams brothers.
"That was insane," said Jake Williams as he climbs out behind the steering wheel of the YXZ1000R. "I knew we had a big gap to make up and we just went for it thinking we had nothing to lose. We started passing a couple of people and then we hit the lead and we are just pumped to bring it home.
"The YXZ1000R was unreal to drive and we gave it heaps over the past couple of days.
"Thank you to everyone in the Yamaha Motor Australia/ WPS team, my brother Aiden and all our friends and family that came out to support us. We have had an awesome time," Williams ends.
Taking second place was fellow YXZ team of Bryce Washington and Garry Connell. The team put in a huge effort and if not for the heroics of the Williams team on the final day, they would have claimed victory in the class.
Third place was another family affair with Bailey Motorsport with Roydn and Hannah Bailey at the controls. The duo put in a consistent two days of driving to snatch the final podium spot.
Just behind them were Daniel Mackenzie and Garth Hannaford who steamed home on day two to come up just 17 seconds short of the podium after six hours of racing. Taking fifth was Kaos racing with Damien Nash, Alex Turner and Wayne Gailes behind the wheel and locking Yamaha in as the top five UTV's in class.
The ATV division shared a similar dominance and this time, the dominance was shared between the Yamaha YFZ450R and the Van Vliet Brothers in a top podium sweep.
Mitchell Van Vliet took the race win and led from start to finish. He cleared out to a comfortable gap on the run down to Finke and then continued to pile on the pressure on the return run to take the victory, seven minutes clear of his brother, Jake.
Jake then held a 20 minute margin back to Cooper Van Vliet who took third.
So, it was a Van Vliet/ Yamaha YFZ450R podium sweep and with Mitchell holding the bragging rights until the brothers line up again in next years' event.
"It is cool to take the race win at such a prestigious event but even better when you share the entire podium with your brothers," Mitchell declares. "Things went pretty smoothly for all of us, possible the best issue was dealing with the dust but that's how it is when you race in the desert.
"Thank you to Yamaha and all our team sponsors and supporters. It's been a huge week up here and its great the whole family achieved some success," he ends.
The Finke Desert race is a long standing and high profile event that sees competitors on bikes, ATVs and Buggy's charge down a 200-kilometre course that runs between Alice Springs and the small outback town of Finke.
After a freshen up, the charge is back on to return to Alice Springs. The fastest bikes take around four hours to complete the course and reach speeds of 170 kilometres an hour while the ATV's and UTV take around six hours.
It is a tough and challenging race on the riders, drivers and machinery and definitely not for the faint hearted.
2017 FINKE Results
Superlite Under 1200cc
1st Jake Williams / Aiden Williams – Yamaha YXZ1000R (YMA / WPS)
2nd Bryce Washington / Garry Connell – Yamaha YXZ1000R (Harrow Racing)
3rd Roydn Bailey / Hannah Bailey – Yamaha YXZ1000R (Bailey Motorsport)
4th Dan Mckenzie / Garth Hannaford – Yamaha YXZ1000R (YMA Racing)
5th Damien Nash / Alex Turner / Wayne Gailes – Yamaha YXZ1000R (Kayos racing)
1st Mitchell Van Vliet – Yamaha YFZ450R
2nd Jake Van Vliet – Yamaha YFZ450R
3rd Cooper Van Vliet – Yamaha YFZ450R