Ouyen’s Nathan Trigg has joined the Sherco Factory Racing Team for 2018. Photo: PAUL MENSCH

By MITCH RODD

OUYEN rider Nathan Trigg hopes that joining the Sherco Factory Racing Team in 2018 will push him further up the rankings in Australia’s leading enduro races.

The 23-year-old has been a local favourite both on the enduro and motocross circuits over a number of years.

Nathan was presented as a Sherco rider this week, with the factory team aiming for strong results at the 2018 Hattah Desert Race and Finke Desert Race.

Nathan will look to become the first local rider to win at Hattah since five-time champion Warren Smart in 2008.

Nathan also finished in sixth place at the prestigious Finke Desert Race this year.

“It’s really exciting and I just can’t wait,” Nathan said of his signing with Sherco Racing.

“It’s an awesome opportunity. It’s going to be good next year. I’ll be going to some races and things and just having people to bounce ideas off and a bit of experience behind them as well (will be good).

“We’ve (Sherco and I) always been looking on and watching each other’s movements for the past few years. It’s finally taken off and it will be good to work together.

“I’ve been working really hard at it for a little while now and it’s been good just being a local rider and being up there with the pros and the factory riders. I’m as good as them, so I want be on the same level.

“Being in a factory team means we’ll be able to nail some things a bit better and iron out any things that are wrong.

“I’m still doing local events with the Sherco (bike), and when we’re doing the big events I’ll be with the team. At Hattah I definitely want to be on the podium outright, and at Finke I definitely want a podium in my class and be right up there in outright.”

Nathan will join Ararat-based Australian Off Road Championship (AORC) rider Andy Wilksch, and female AORC competitors Sophie Caldecott and Kate Norman as part of the 2018 factory team.

Sherco brand manager Stephen Tuff said Nathan is a top class addition to the team.

“We identified Nathan as a top class competitor probably two years ago, maybe even three when we first realised we’d love the opportunity for him to ride our bikes.

“As Sherco is still an emerging brand in Australia compared to its competitors, we need to gain a bit of momentum in brand recognition and also brand acceptance. We’ve done that through a good racing program over the past couple of years.

“I casually said to Nathan, ‘When you’ve finished mucking around with those others guys and you want to do some serious racing, give me a call’. A couple of months ago he reached out and we were able to come to an arrangement where he will be on the Sherco 450 and we think he is capable of winning these events.

“He will be competing in the North West Victorian Motorcycle Club enduros and other regional events, but the big prize is obviously the Hattah Desert Race. We think he can win it, he thinks he can win it, and we know our bike can. Obviously in motorsport anything can happen but we’ll be doing everything we can.

“Finke is obviously another one because that’s probably the most recognised event.”

Stephen believed Nathan and Andy can form a dynamic team.

“We think that the synergy between Nathan and Andy will work really well because they’re both really good competitors, and we think that will actually lift the level of the team,” he said.

“Because he (Nathan) is widely known, for someone like him to put his trust in us as a brand and as a team will definitely put eyes on us. We know the bike is capable so we’re really confident that he’s going to do well.

“Traditionally dirt bike riders have a tribal mentality, they become very brand loyal, a lot like Supercars fans with their Holden and Ford kind of thing, and I guess to a degree we might be Nissan coming in from the side. We’re gaining a lot of fans, but we’re still building that trust and a big part of that is putting people on bikes.

“Nathan is heading up to Alice Springs for the Australia Day long weekend called the Deep Well Motocross, which is held out in Deep Well Station outside of Alice Springs…hotter than hell. But traditionally whoever does well at Deep Well does very well at Finke.”

Testing for the Sherco Factory Racing Team will begin in Geelong in January.