Indee 500 Desert Race 2010.

It’s nice to actually have some time to sit down and have a breather, as it’s been all go the last few weeks. You don’t realise just how much time is taken up (or wasted, as I’d like to say) chasing motorbikes around a track. Now I have to be honest, I love motocross, and shooting it is fun, but you don’t receive much support from the riders, so I’ve lot a bit of my mojo for shooting mx, the main reason I’m not at the King of the Cross in Southern Cross this weekend.

It’s nice though, to shoot an event and be appreciated, and have the riders support you, by buying images. I find enduro/desert racers to be far more supportive.

One event in particular I have enjoyed almost from its inception, is the Indee 500 Desert Race, which is held on Indee Station, 60 km south of Port Hedland. Now a 2 day trip up and 2 back, and I dragged the old boy along for the drive this year (just so I could drive his new V8 Cruiser ute!!) takes a little effort, but when you are involved with this event, the people who run it and the competitors, it makes it so much more enjoyable. Just the people you meet over the years, who come back to race year after year is just great. I have ridden with some of these boys back in the Karratha days,  and have met some awesome people on the way.

With the pressure being put on motorbike riders/racers across the state, the most important thing for an event such as this is having somewhere to hold it. This is where Indee Station and it’s owners, Colin and Betty Brierly come into it. Without the support of the station owners, this event wouldn’t happen. The Port Hedland Enduro Club have been riding the station for a few years, and decided to run an event. In 2005 the first event was held, with a field of around 26 riders. Paul Varasdi (his nickname is Turbo, and you will understand why when you meet him!!) took over the reins as event co-ordinator in 2007. From here the event, with Paul’s passion for the sport and enthusiasm for the end result, has taken this event and made it a “must do” for enduro riders.Paul has amazing support from Glen and Andrew Payne, who do most  of the track marking, and Steven and Daniel Smith, and a host of other helpers.

This year, there were 150 riders (ironman and pony express, bikes and quads) with 30 on the waiting list, so you can see where the event has come in 5 years. Nominations closed after only 3 days, an amazing stat. Riders came from all over the state and as far as Albany. One rider also came from Newcastle, NSW.

The race format, it’s a 500 km race. The track is a 100 km loop, so three laps on Saturday and 2 laps on Sunday, for those who make it through Saturday. The track takes in fast flowing station tracks, creek and river sections, rocky off camber hill climbs and some wide open full throttle straights. It’s definitely not for the faint hearted, holding a bike flat out for 500km, reaching speeds around 160 kmh +. In these harshest of conditions, if the bike doesn’t break, the body might, if not both, but all riders come away knowing they have just ridden a pretty tough race, especially when you wake up Sunday morning and have to go and ride another 200km.

I have been lucky enough to be a part of this event as the official photographer. After riding the Sunday in 2007 with some mates from Hedland, I turned up bikeless but with camera in hand in ’08. I was asked to come back and shoot the event in ’09 for the feature which was in ADB Magazine (my first real job for a mag!!), and obviously went back this year. I will be involved for years to come now, I love it.

I thought I’d do it differently this year, and take the bike along, so I could ride the track and stop and shoot. I had a bit of a problem, as on Saturday, after the first shooting session, I got on the bike, and couldn’t get off. I was just having so much fun I forgot I had a job to do. The little Honda 250x was wound up, and we were having a ball. I had on board a Kata Bumblebee 220 bag, which carried all my gear, and I also fitted the Camelback bladder in the laptop compartment, so I didn’t go dry. I was riding behind the leaders on the 2nd lap,  and the track was getting hard then, so on Sunday on the fifth lap I could only imagine how hard it would have been.

Now to the results. Ivan Erceg, a W.A desert racing icon, riding a Honda CRF 450R, had his first outright win this year. After finishing 2nd in ’08, and having mechanical failure whilst in the lead last year, he was stoked to win. If you don’t know Ivan, he is one of the nicest, genuine guys you will meet. He does look a little scarey, but once you know him he’s just a nice fella who can ride a motorbike fast!!!

A mate from Karratha (well he is  Victorian) Adam Clay came 2nd riding a KTM 505 SXF,  his first podium in a big event. He too had a mechanical failure in last years event, whilst he was in 2nd place behind Ivan.

Third was Paul MCKinnis, Honda CRF 450R, who missed last years event, but who’d been up in the top 5 in ’07 and ’08.

Fourth was another Karratha based Victorian, Luke Clay on his KTM EXC 450, yep, these brothers can ride!!

In fifth place this year was last years winner Paul Nappy aboard his Honda CRF 450R.

It’s amazing when you talk to these guys, about parts of the track, when I think I’m going well (in my mind) and pushing at 100kmh, and these guys are pushing through those same parts at 130kmh or more, you sort of sit back and realise just how good these guys are (and they obviously have bigger balls than me!!) It is just an awesome event to be a part of. I’ll be there next year, and hopefully for a long time after that.

Sorry, I didn’t realise how much I’ve dribbled, trying to make up for the lack of posts!! Here’s some images.


Ivan Erceg in action.

An animated Ivan during his acceptance speech.

Ivan at the now traditional handover of the winners numberplate and trophy to station owners Colin and Betty Brierly.

2nd placed Adam Clay pushing his KTM 505 through an off camber corner.

3rd placed Paul McKinnis dodging a branch.

4th placed Luke Clay having some fun on one wheel.

5th placed and last years winner Paul Nappy.

Alan Crawford, who has won the last 3 years in the E1 class (up to 125cc 2 stroke and 250 4 stroke)

Quad class winner John Iuliano.

Flat out and on the gas!

Karratha mxer Tyson Lind came 6th outright aboard his Yamaha YZ 250.

Last years quad winner Ivan Abreau shifts some dirt with his tractor!!

Riding towards Indee Station’s “Red Rock”.

Rocks, rocks and more rocks.

Riding with this awesome ridge as a backdrop.

W.A rider Heath Young used the event to test his KTM 690 machine for the upcoming Australasian Safari.

Some people come to race hard…….

……and others come to enjoy the ride!!

and one to finish off……Simon Boyd from Broome.


~ by Jamie Nicolaou on August 7, 2010.

9 Responses to “Indee 500 Desert Race 2010.”

  1. Some awesome images as usual mate and a great story taboot, I can see why you love going to this event every year and looking forward to doing so for many years to come and getting some respect and passion back from other people about what you do is always a great thing indeed and it also drives your passion harder when people support you to. As an ex rider and knowing what gahooners you need to do such an event at the break neck speeds these guys do it at hats off to you to for going along for a ride this year and I bet your still smiling with the memories from the weekend that was.

  2. Some nice shots there Jamie.

    I’ve done a bit of stuff for ADB and others but seldom worth the effort for the return i found, good fun though. And your right ,it’s hard to get competitors to buy prints.

  3. Cheers for the comments guys. Definitely had a ball up there. And Merv, I know what you’re saying in regards to the return, but it helps to cover costs, which is all I ask from doing these events. If I can have a great time, and it pays for the trip, it’s a bonus.

  4. No Avon today. I’ve followed it for a few years now so giving it a miss this year.

    We’re going away in a couple of weeks so a bit of work to do around the house before we go.

  5. Great stuff Jamie. A few boys from down these parts went up as well. So great idea riding and shooting. I once read an article by the late Geoff Eldridge and he said you got to move around or your bike photos will be boring. Well mate you were a moving!

    Well done, that D3 just eats this type of photography.

    • I wasn’t moving as quick as the other boys, but I was having my own fun!! I’ve got a lot of ideas for next years event. It actually opens up the photo opportunities a lot more when you are out there in the mix.

  6. Hello, after reading this amazing paragraph i am as well
    glad to share my experience here with mates.

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