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ADV NewsDucati DesertX Takes On 460 km Off Road Course With No Fuel Stops

Ducati DesertX Takes On 460 km Off Road Course With No Fuel Stops

Taking on Australia's legendary Finke desert tracks using less than one tank of fuel.

Published on 08.10.2023

Fresh from the high of taking on the infamous Erzbergrodeo enduro race with the DesertX, Ducati has launched a trailer of their latest project dubbed ‘Mission: Un-Finkeable.’ Although it is typically enduro legend Antoine Meo that we see putting the DesertX through its paces, this time it is Ducati Product Specialist and DRE Adventure Academy Chief Instructor, Mr. Nick Selleck, who is selected for the task. His mission? To ride the arduous off-road course between Alice Springs and the community of Finke, and back again, in just one day and one tank of gas. 

Ducati DesertX tackles Tatts Finke Desert Race course on one tank of gas

As one of the world’s most iconic desert races and widely regarded as the world’s fastest, the Tatts Finke Desert Race in Australia is revered and feared in equal measure; thanks to its reputation for pushing athletes and their machines to breaking point each year in the most remote of areas. Running around 230 km each way, Selleck’s ride on the DesertX followed in the historic footprints of the Finke Desert Race track between Alice Springs and Finke two weeks after the race, and could have been pulled straight from a Mad Max movie – all red desert, sand and rocky verges. The track is littered with the skeletons of broken machines and racers’ dreams: snaking between places of natural beauty and stark brutality.  

“While none of us from Ducati had any doubt the DesertX could tackle Finke, the parameters we added to the challenge – riding there and back and with only the fuel the bike can carry – certainly had us all curious to see if man and machine could literally go the distance. The extra challenge of riding the track just after hundreds of racers had torn it to shreds, ensured that Nick and the DesertX were not afforded the smoothest of rides,” Ducati Australia Head of Marketing, Alana Baratto,  explained.  

Ducati DesertX tackles Tatts Finke Desert Race course on one tank of gas

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All told, Nick would spend three full days and over 1,000 km on the track riding the DesertX equipped with a factory 8-liter auxiliary tank; which included track reconnaissance as well as capturing photography and videography to document the journey. With only a small medical, logistics and photography team in-tow, Nick left his one-day, there-and-back run for the third day, having already completed close to 800 km in the DesertX’s saddle on the track. In the end, he was able to complete the 460 km return-adventure in just one day and less than one tank of fuel, riding a factory standard Ducati DesertX.

Upon crossing the invisible Finke Desert Race finish line not long before dark, with fuel still left in the DesertX’s tank and having now ticked off a longstanding item on his bucket list, Nick was able to reflect on his experience among the desert dunes, which is slated for a documentary to be released soon. 

Ducati DesertX tackles Tatts Finke Desert Race course on one tank of gas

“It was a big relief in so many ways to cross the finish line,” says Nick. “Not just because of the fact that we made the entire 460 km distance using only the factory fuel tanks, but that the bike fared so well in such brutal terrain. In fact, I didn’t have to lay a spanner on the bike all week, except for making clicker adjustments to the standard suspension!”.

The Bike 

As the first modern Ducati with a 21-inch front wheel and an 18-inch rear, the DesertX offers long travel suspension and a new frame designed specifically for off-roading. Powered by a lighter, evolved version of the well-established 937cc Testastretta engine, the DesertX packs 110hp/92Nm and features six unique driving modes – two of which have been specifically programmed for offroad use. The additional 8-liter auxiliary fuel tank, a genuine factory option, maximizes the DesertX’s endurance capabilities with up to a 40 percent range increase. Aside from a small number of Nick’s hand-picked genuine Ducati Accessories, which included the rear auxiliary fuel tank, the bike tackled Finke in standard specification, with its standard factory suspension set-up. 

Ducati DesertX tackles Tatts Finke Desert Race course on one tank of gas

When asked what comes next after completing such an incredible journey, the racer in Nick was quick to respond. “I’m very keen to give the Finke race a go next time!” he exclaimed.  

Author: ADV Pulse Staff
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Kai
Kai
August 10, 2023 9:04 pm

And then comes the ordeal to replace the sir filter. Some say 40minutes, other first timers need two hours. Ot you take the bike to the dealer, as the manual says. Just like for chain adjustment! 🙂
Air filter replacement on a 790/890/901 can be done in like five minutes, by the way…

Kai
Kai
August 10, 2023 9:05 pm

…air…

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