The 2021 Tatts Finke Desert Race will welcome a number of Australian motorsport stars to help kick off the 45th edition of the nation’s biggest off road event.
Around 175 crews are entered in the second round of the 2021 BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC) season and a further 600 to run bikes, each of which will attempt to complete 452 competitive kilometres of one of the toughest challenges the country has to offer.
Although many high profile crews from Victoria are unable to attend the event due to Victoria’s current COVID-19 regulations, including reigning AORC champion Mark Burrows, there will still be plenty of star power at the event including International star Toby Price, who is looking to become the first driver in history to win both the four-wheel and two-wheel category.
Starting from Alice Springs on Sunday 13 June, crews will tackle a variety of terrains on their way down to the Aputula Community (Finke) including sand, clay, river/creek crossings and dirt tracks before returning to Alice Springs on Monday 14 June.
While the race is iconic in itself, the lead up to the event is often one of the most exciting with street parties, night markets, scrutineering and the Method Race Wheels Prologue often drawing large crowds.
On top of the usual AORC stars to attend, the event has also secured two heavy hitters from outside the discipline –three-time Supercars Champion and seven-time Repco Bathurst 1000 winner Craig Lowndes and 2019 RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Champion, Harry Bates.
Both drivers will show off their versatility behind the wheel as they complete hot laps of the popular Prologue track – something Lowndes was looking forward to doing.
“I can’t wait to head back to Alice Springs and receive the full experience of the Tatts Finke Desert Race. Although it won’t be competing, it will be a very cool experience both behind the wheel and as a spectator,” Lowndes said.
“With the likes of two-time Dakar champion Toby Price and seasoned veteran David Walsh (current Bike Champion) returning, it will once again be a high-quality race in both the two and four-wheel categories.
“I am excited to jump into the driver’s seat and do a hot lap, Finke has always been an event that is earmarked in my racing calendar and I’m stoked to be a part of it this year.”
Finke Desert Race Committee President Antony Yoffa was thrilled to have both Lowndes and Bates form part of the exciting line up or pre-event entertainment.
“It is great to have Motorsport legend Craig Lowndes attend this year, with fans getting the chance to meet him at Thursday’s signing session and across the weekend,” Yoffa said.
“We can’t wait to see how both Craig and Harry fare on the Prologue track before the competition gets underway on Saturday for Method Wheels Prologue Day.”
The event officially gets underway on Friday with Scrutineering and the Method Race Wheels Prologue on Saturday before the official race proceedings take place over Sunday and Monday.
The Tatts Finke Desert Race takes place in Alice Springs and Finke on 11-14 June.