Skip to content


Ducati DesertX mounted Nick Selleck completes Alice Springs to Finke return trip in one day and on one tank of fuel

Ducati Australia has revealed that Ducati Product Specialist and DRE Adventure Academy Chief Instructor, Nick Selleck, has completed a ride from Alice Springs to  Finke and back on a DesertX, in just one day.

Selleck completed the 460km journey on a standard Ducati DesertX, fitted with an 8-litre auxiliary tank, without having to stop for fuel.

As one of the world’s most iconic desert races and widely regarded as the world’s fastest, the Tatts Finke Desert Race 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. Run every June, the race sees competitors using bikes, cars and buggies in a gruelling two-day slog that has racers and their crews leave Alice Springs with the hope of arriving in the town of Finke on Day 1, camping overnight to rest, tend to wounds and make necessary repairs, and then head back again on Day 2.

While the official race doesn’t currently offer an adventure category for motorcycles, Ducati Australia has remarked that it has long seen Finke as the ultimate test of durability, and when Nick confessed to having the Finke track on his riding bucket list, a plan was hatched and what Ducati has termed Mission: Un-Finkeable was born.

“It’s quite rare to be able to challenge both man and machine in this way, and the support and enthusiasm the project has received has been incredible,” Selleck recalled.

Ducati Australia Head of Marketing, Alana Baratto, instantly saw the potential to pit the DesertX, and Nick, against one of the world’s toughest tracks, to illustrate the capability of the new model in the harsh Australian environment.

“While none of us from Ducati Australia or our colleagues in Italy 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 have torn it to shreds, ensured that Nick and the DesertX were not afforded the smoothest of rides,” Baratto explained.

Focusing on pushing the limits of both bike and rider, it was decided that Nick would take a standard Ducati DesertX fitted with a genuine factory option 8-litre auxiliary tank to tackle Finke, with the ride set for two weeks after the race weekend. This would mean the track would be at its roughest, but remain relatively clear from traffic, giving Nick and the DesertX the chance to complete the ride as safely and efficiently as possible, while still racing against precious daylight hours – in short supply during winter.

All told, Nick spent three full days and over 1000km on the track riding the DesertX, 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 800km in the DesertX’s saddle on the track.

Running around 230km each way, the ride follows in the historic footprints of the Finke Desert Race track between Alice Springs and Finke, 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.

As the officials put it, the Tatts Finke Desert Race is an off-road, multi-terrain two-day race for bikes, cars and buggies through desert country from Alice Springs to the small Aputula (Finke) community. The race is held each year on the Queen’s/King’s Birthday long weekend in June. ‘The Finke’ as it is commonly known, is one of the biggest annual sporting events in the Northern Territory and has the reputation of being one of the most difficult off-road courses, in one of the most remote places, in the world.

Upon crossing the invisible Finke Desert Race finish line (with all race signage having already been removed and awaiting next year’s race) 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.

“After a total of three days in the saddle, and a full day riding there and back with little stopping, one thing remains certain: the DesertX has been the perfect companion for this trip. Not only is the bike comfortable and balanced just right for this sort of terrain, but it is very light – something that I have no doubt helped with the fuel economy,” Nick explained.

When asked what comes next after completing the journey, the racer in Nick was quick to respond.

“I’m very keen to give the Finke race a go next time!” he exclaimed.