The Australian Four-Day Enduro gets underway in Harvey in Western Australia this week. For the 35th edition of the race, the most prestigious and sought after trophy in Australian off road will be fought over between the best talent pool of enduro riders Down Under. And while riders like Matt Phillips, Chris Hollis, Glenn Kearney and Josh Green will be attempting to topple the defending A4DE champion Daniel Milner, the race will also feature some other high profile entries – most notable of all Alister McRae.
The Scotsman is better known for his skills behind the wheel of a rally car but has decided to try his hand at this year’s A4DE. A lifelong motorcycle enthusiast, 42-year old McRae - who now calls Perth home - will compete on a KTM500EXC. RedBull.com caught up with the 2011 Asia Pacific Rally Champion to find out why he’s switched from four wheels to two…
RedBull.com: Alister, why have you decided to contest the A4DE?
Alister McRae: “I’ve done the Dakar Rally twice in a car and the idea of doing a long distance event on a bike is a big challenge for me - I want to do it before I get too old. I’m going to race the Australasian Safari in September so the A4DE is a perfect opportunity to train for it.”
RB: What level of experience have you got when it comes to racing enduro?
AMR: “When I was a kid I had about three years of motocross and some trials. But even when I was competing in the World Rally Championship I would still ride motocross for fitness. Not a lot of competition, just enough to enjoy it and be fit - but that was a while back.”
RB: What goals have you set to achieve?
AMR: “Most importantly I’m here to have fun. I think the longer events are what I’m more suited to where I’ve got to use my experience and pace myself. In outright speed alone I’m not quick enough to win but maybe where the longevity becomes a factor I might be able to get a reasonable result.”
I’m here to have fun.
RB: How do you think the A4DE will compare to the Australasian Safari next September?
AMR: “I’m expecting this week’s four-day enduro to be a lot more technical with slower speeds. But for me to get four days riding in a row will be great. The opportunity to put mileage on the KTM500EXC day after day is important. Like I said, I’m going to get my eyes opened a fair bit with the speeds that some of these guys can ride bikes!”
The A4DE takes place in Harvey, Western Australia from 17-20 July.