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Postie has a need for speed

Wednesday, 30th May, 2012

Postman Nathan Johnston is off to the Finke Desert Race on the Queen’s Birthday weekend. Postman Nathan Johnston is off to the Finke Desert Race on the Queen’s Birthday weekend.

By Ben Sheffield

Nathan Johnston will swap his postman’s motorbike for a high performance version when he joins the Finke Desert Race over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.

The Finke Desert Race is an off-road motorbike competition which starts in Alice Springs and finishes in the small Aputula community in the Northern Territory.

The 460km round trip takes place over two days and is expected to involve more than 600 competitors.

Because of the desert surrounds the race is considered to be one of the most difficult courses in one of the most remote places in the world.

Nathan, a member of the Silver City Motorcycle Club, is excited about the challenge that awaits him.

“I can’t wait to get there and get going,” he said.

“I’m chucking myself in the deep end, so who knows how it’ll go?”

According to Nathan, the ride will be vastly different from his daily ride as a postman.

“It’s a bit more fun - this bike’s got a fair bit more power,” he said.

Nathan says he has never attempted anything remotely like the Finke Desert Race in his life.

“I’ve done some farmers’ enduro racing but this is my first desert race.”

He first became involved in the sport as a five-year-old but said it was only in recent years that he had taken his interest to the next level.

“In the last five years or so I’ve been right into it and bought brand new bikes.”

The winner of the race will take home $10,000, although that is far from Nathan’s mind.

“To be honest, I’d be pretty happy just to finish - that’s my goal, really,” he said.

Despite being so far away from home, Nathan will have plenty of local support on with six members of the Silver City Motorcycle Club making the three-day, 1600km journey to see him make his desert debut.

They have been joking that they will set up a mailbox on the side of the track, but reckon that Nathan might forget he’s racing and stop.

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