This weekend’s Tatts Finke Desert Race plays host to round two of the 2017 BFGoodrich CAMS Australian Off Road Championship; and with seven previous ‘Kings of the Desert’ doing battle the competition is wide open and up for grabs.
Over 140 vehicles will compete in the car and buggy section of the 2017 Tatts Finke Desert Race, celebrating 30 years of four-wheel action at the event.
Glenn Owen, winner of the car section in last year’s Tatts Finke Desert Race, is back to defend his title but says last year’s victory has not changed his approach to the event at all.
“This year is the same as normal; we are here to do a job, we want to win, that’s what we come here for every year.”
Owen, who will race with navigator Matthew Ryan in the Jimco Aussie Special Holden 3500cc, says the key to a good result at Finke is good preparation.
“Having good equipment and good gear under you is the key. Good preparation is everything, as is having the right people around you.”
Outer Bounds Racing’s Travis Robinson leads the BFGoodrich CAMS Australian Off Road Championship after his clean sweep of the St George 399 but has made no secret that the Tatts Finke Desert Race is what he is after.
“Winning at St George meant a lot but the Finke Desert Race is our main concern. We really want to step it up a notch and put on a show for everyone,” Robinson said.
Robinson, with navigator Trent Anthony in the Jimco OBR Nissan 3500cc, is unlikely to have it all his own way in round two of the BFGoodrich CAMS AORC, with the return of 2016 Australian Off Road Champion Jack Rhodes along with eight-time champion and four-time Finke Desert Race winner Shannon Rentsch.
Rhodes missed the St George 399 in April with good reason; to attend his wedding. With Shannon Rentsch also in attendance, the pair will now play catch up on the championship points table, but with the Tatts Finke Desert Race renowned for being tough on both machinery and competitors, anything could happen.
Not to be discounted, previous winners of the famous race that will likely be up the pointy end include Mark Burrows, David Fellows, Hayden Bentley, Brad Gallard and Greg Gartner, just to name a few.
Toby Price is another one to watch; after finishing runner-up in the car section last year and winning the bikes, a leg injury sustained at the 2017 Dakar has forced him out of the bike section. Price is now fully focused on racing his Geiser Brothers built trophy truck, newly arrived from the United States.
“I didn’t want to miss racing at Finke so we got our hands on a trophy truck out of the United States. It’s been a long process but we’ve put all the pieces together…and fortunately we will get on the start line for Finke on 4-wheels,” Price said.
The Tatts Finke Desert Race kicks off at 8am tomorrow morning with prologue. Day one competition starts at 7:15am in Alice Springs on Sunday; day two competition commences at 7:15am at Finke on Monday with the first cars due back in Alice Springs around 9am.
Full results and information on the 2017 Tatts Finke Desert Race can be found at www.finkedesertrace.com.au.