Skip to content

Fourth win lucky for Todd Barry | SPORT

Todd Barry has won his fourth consecutive Swann Insurance 24 Hour cross country event at Eudunda in South Australia on 8-9 July.

The local KTM 450EXC rider took a narrow victory over up-and-comer Riley Graham (Yamaha WR450F) and 2013 winner Rowan Pumpa (Yamaha WR450F).

In the sidecar division, brothers Max and Sam Hutchesson ended years of disappointment by taking victory over Hector Evans/Shaun Buckley and Mark Launer/Tyson Rohlach.

Barry’s overall win didn’t come easy. He had conceded victory to Graham, until it was revealed that his rookie rival had failed to stop at a route check and was slapped with a 600-point penalty that dropped him to second.

A four-lap dirtbike event conjures up images of motocross, or maybe grasstrack; anything but cross-country enduro. Then you learn that each lap is almost 170km and combines elements of MX, grasstrack and single trail with enough tricky navigation to ensure there’s absolutely no respite for over five hours in daylight – maybe a little longer at night. Throw in a few tech inspections and you have the legendary Swann Insurance 24 Hour, now in its 93rd year.

The inaugural event in 1924 had a 70 per cent DNF rate, but this year it was just 30 per cent.

The retirements included 18-year veteran and perennial frontrunner Ant Diener, who was well in the hunt again until he jammed his mount into a fence in the final test on the third lap.

“I hadn’t ridden since the last 24 (Hour) and this year it was a tight course with a lot of bulldust,” Diener said, “so I guess I’m happy getting as far as I did. The 24 is one of the most frustrating and rewarding events in Australia.”

Scoring an event with 96 checkpoints over four laps is a nightmare for the organisers, particularly when coupled with potential penalties for unroadworthiness (loss of lights or mirrors, for example). It therefore took several days for all the timecards to be compiled and checked before the provisional results were announced.

Peter Whitaker