Ben Grabham's Finke Desert Race bid is ended by a dead tree

A DEAD tree – that is what prevented Bathurst off-road racing ace Ben Grabham from making a successful return to the Finke Desert Race over the long weekend.

GUTTED: Ben Grabham was unable to finish the Finke Desert Race.

GUTTED: Ben Grabham was unable to finish the Finke Desert Race.

A four-time bike category winner of the iconic Northern Territory enduro, this year’s event marked Grabham’s return to riding in the desert race.

Riding a Beta RR 480 in Class 6 (masters 35-39 years), Grabham had set a simple goal of making it to the finish on Monday.

Things were looking good after Saturday’s 8.3 kilometre prologue as Grabham surprisingly placed ninth outright and first in his class.

But 55km into the first day of racing on Sunday, he clipped a dead tree on the edge of the track which tore the fuel injection lines out of the tank and throttle body.

“Terrible luck, but most importantly Ben is okay and did not come off the bike, though he is obviously gutted as he put in such a huge effort to prepare for the event and was feeling very comfortable for a strong result,” Beta Motorcycles posted on Facebook.