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Gearing up for Finke

Gearing up for Finke

Off road desert motorcycle racer, Mr Ivan Long of Tanunda, will be participating in the biggest desert race in Australia, the Finke Desert Race, during the June Long Weekend.

The race, held at Alice Springs, has over 600 competitors with 20,000 spectators watching the two day race.

Ivan attempted his first Finke Desert Race in 2011 and finished 14th. In 2012 he was placed 35th after an unfortunate flat tyre while he was sitting in the 10th position on the return run.

In 2013, Ivan finished in 5th place and in 2014 he finished 3rd, becoming the first South Australian to do this since 2000.

Ivan has raced all over Australia saying, “That is what I love the most about this sport, the travel and the people you meet along the way.”

Racing at a very young age, his father and uncles were into the Speedway, Motocross and Road Trials scene, which made him fall in love with the sport.

Ivan was racing from the age of seven, taking part in local motocross competitions. When he was older he started getting involved in Junior National Motocross circuits, which involved travelling around Australia.

“My background growing up with racing was motocross but once I moved out of home and moved to the Barossa Valley for work, I grew an interest for Off Road Racing.

“There was an SA Off Road Championship in the local area and I gave it a go. Turns out I was better at dodging tress and riding sand than I was at motocross.

“So I stopped racing motocross to race off road full time,” said Ivan about how he started off-road racing, he has now won five state championships.

Ivan explained that even though he enjoys racing, the biggest hardship isn’t injured body parts but a broken wallet.

“With motorcycle racing, it’s the expense of it. Without sponsors it’s almost impossible to race at the national level that I am racing.

“As a junior my parents were great support, but now I self-fund my racing with the support of many valuable sponsors.”

Ivan was recruited in 2014 by the KTM Australia team, who he is still racing for this year.

Over the years, Ivan has suffered his fair share of injury, saying that he has to spend time getting his body ready for the event.

Past injuries include a broken wrist and a knee reconstruction. Currently his training involves helping his body cope with the extremes of off-road racing.

For the full story see this week’s edition of The Leader.