With just 10 days to go until the iconic Tatts Finke Desert Race for 2019, aorc.com.au looks back at last year’s corresponding round of the BFGoodrich CAMS Australian Off Road Championship.
There was a lot of anticipation heading into the big race with two major plotlines dominating the headlines.
The first was the hype surrounding the young Toby Whateley who led Shannon Rentsch in the championship standings after an entertaining season opener in Queensland.
The second was Australian off road legend Toby Price making a second attempt at the illusive Finke ‘Ironman’ Double – trying to finish first in both a bike and his trophy truck.
As it has in 2019, last year Finke once again filled all its available spots for both the bikes and cars, making it one of the biggest events in the country.
Rentsch was primed for his 16th run on the Central Australian event and it all began with an impeccable start during Prologue where he finished with the best time.
The Prologue win set the tone for the remainder of the race and alongside father Ian, Rentsch didn’t put a foot wrong in the first leg of the two-day race, arriving at Finke with a three minute lead over Toby Price, while Greg Gartner was a further 10 minutes behind.
Day two and the father-son duo continued their form to take out the victory – 16 minutes ahead of five-time Finke champion David Fellows and co-driver and Mark Bergaminn.
Finishing third outright was 2016 BFGoodrich CAMS Australians Off Road Champion Jack Rhodes and David Pullino.
It wasn’t the greatest weekend for Whateley and co-driver Simon Herrmann, as the duo crossed the line more than one hour behind Rentsch – his lead at the top of the standings relinquished to the eventual champion.
As for Price’s attempt at the double, he was looking strong at the end of the first day sitting three minutes behind Rentsch, but the dream was over not long into the second day after failing to make the second checkpoint at Bundooma.
Despite retiring from the race after his truck suffered a power steering pump failure and putting an end to his second ‘Ironman’ attempt, Price still came away with a win in the bikes.
In 2019, Price will not be competing on two-wheels after breaking his hand at his most recent triumph, the 2019 Dakar rally, making him a serious challenger in the cars category yet again.
The Tatts Finke Desert Race takes place between Alice Springs and Finke on 7-10 June.
The Top 10
1. #33 SHANNON RENTSCH/IAN RENTSCH 03:36:37.3
2. #492 DAVID FELLOWS/MARK BERGAMIN 03:53:25.0 (+ 00:16:47.7)
3. #91 JACK RHODES/DAVID PULLINO 03:55:45.2 (+ 00:19:07.9)
4. #16 TALBOT COX/ANDREW NORTH 03:59:03.1 (+ 00:22:25.8)
5. #32 MICHAEL MARSON/CHRIS COLBOURNE 04:03:43.2 (+ 00:27:05.9)
6. #15 JOSH HOWELLS/BRYAN ERSKINE 04:14:12.9 (+ 00:37:35.6)
7. #110 SHAWN SWAFFIELD/ROBERT SWAFFIELD 04:14:17.8 (+ 00:37:40.5)
8. #21 MARK BURROWS/COLIN HODGE 04:20:34.3 (+ 00:43:57.0)
9. #482 MICHAEL MAGHER/DANIEL HOSE 04:21:02.8 (+ 00:44:25.5)
10. #23 PETER COSTELLO/BEN BROOKS 04:23:30.9 (+ 00:46:53.6)