Five-time Tatts Finke Desert Race winner Mark Burrows will be hoping to again master the famous desert race as he prepares to take on one of the biggest challenges in motor sport this weekend.
Burrows knows the task at hand, having won the iconic race in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2003, as well as being the first car driver to beat the motorbikes in a historic finish in 1999.
And he was well aware everything had to go right if he wanted to claim top honours in 2018.
“Preparation before you get here is the biggest key, and that’s the car and yourself,” Burrows said.
“And then a lot of things have got to align.”
There is no doubt the race is one of the most competitive and unforgiving in Australian motor sport, and Burrows knew firsthand the signficant reputation of this special event.
“It’s an adventure. That’s what it’s all about. The trip here, being in the red centre, racing in the harshest conditions you can possibly think of and the conditions can bite you big time and you have to strike that one lucky day in June to make it all work.”
While all five of his wins will remain somewhat special to him, Burrows has fond memories of putting the bike competitors in their place in 1999 after crossing the line ahead of his two-wheeled competitors for the first time in the race’s history.
“It was just persistence. I think they thought that they (the bikes) were unbeatable and that made me want to beat them more,” Burrows added.
“1996 was my first race here and I’d go to the bike press conferences and they would scoff at the cars. After I heard that I went away and built some replica whoops and kept working at the set up to get that right and in 1999, we were lucky enough to beat them.”
And as one of the masters of the race, Burrows had this important piece of advice for those new to the Tatts Finke Desert Race.
“I would say, bike or car, you don’t win it in the first 100km,” he said.
“You tend to come out of the gate a bit hard, but it’s good fun. It’s fast but it’s very tough going.”