When the Tatts Finke Desert Race ran in 2017, like many before times before, it was decided by a moment of heartbreak.
After putting on an incredible display in prologue, and again on the journey down to Finke, then BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC) leaders Travis Robinson and Trent Anthony were on their way to claim their maiden victory in the NT.
The duo had dominated the field during the opening two days of action – claiming top spot in prologue before creating a gap of more than three minutes over Shannon and Ian Rentsch at the end of day one.
Arriving in Finke third fastest ahead of 2016 AORC Champions Jack Rhodes and David Pullino, was Robinson’s teammate and brother Beau and Shane Hutt. International off road star Toby Price rounded out the top five.
When it came to heading back north to Alice Springs, the leaders seemed to be on track for the win, despite Rentsch closing them down – that is until they suffered a power steering failure just 90km from the finish line.
Their premature exit allowed Rentsch to comfortably storm home and claim their fifth King of the Desert title, while Beau and Hutt held their nerve to finish second ahead of Rhodes and Pullino.
“I knew it was going to be tough, I actually didn’t think we would catch up to Trav. The car was working really well and I just tried to push really hard when we had a clear track in front of us,” Rentsch said post-event.
“We got within about 30 seconds of him and then at about the 100km mark out of Alice Springs he was pulled up beside the road.
“It’s the biggest race for us, everyone wants to win it; it’s the Bathurst of off road, hard on man and machine and it’s just unbelievable to get the job done.”
Travis Robinson wasn’t the only notable name to go down early with five-time Finke winner Mark Burrows, 2016 Finke winner Glenn Owen and former AORC champion Greg Gartner failing to make it down to Finke.
To re-live the 2017 Tatts Finke Desert Race, watch the video below.