Competitors wanting to run in the Tatts Finke Desert Race will now have to meet new entry criterion from 2022 onwards.
As one of the biggest off road races in the world, the Northern Territory based event is considered the most challenging on the BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC) calendar, as crews tackle multiple obstacles across the harsh Australian desert.
With the event’s popularity having grown substantially over the past decade, the entry list often fills up within hours of its opening, further illustrating its standing on the global stage.
Due to the challenging nature of the event, Finke Desert Race organisers have announced new selection criterion to make sure there is a minimum driving standard for all competitors, ensuring greater safety for all involved.
To compete at Finke from 2022 and beyond, crews must have either completed a minimum of two AORC rounds within the last 24 months, scored outright AORC points during the previous season or meet 100 points from a special points checklist – similar to an identity points system.
Competitors hoping to gain entry through the points option have four ways of collecting points towards their entry, which includes having competed at the Finke Desert Race or in other AORC rounds within the past five years and holding a current off road licence.
Outside of the above criteria, competitors can also apply for special dispensation, which will be determined on a case-by-case basis where the individuals must at least have been to at two local Motorsport Australia Off Road events in the past three years and have demonstrated a high level of vehicle control and course awareness.
The special dispensation option may be valid for competitors in the KINCROME SXS Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship who have not contested any AORC rounds in previous years.
Car entries for the Tatts Finke Desert Race will open on Tuesday 1 March and all eligible competitors will be issued a special valid licence for the event.
Finke Desert Race President Antony Yoffa believed it was a decision that was important for the future of the race.
“We have seen our event grow in recent times and it has come to the point where it’s important to introduce an assessment for competitors,” Yoffa said.
“With much larger fields of competitors and a course that is increasingly more challenging, it is no longer viable for us to simply offer a starting place to whomever applies.
“It’s about making sure someone new to the event has a particular level of experience and confidence.”
Motorsport Australia Director of Motorsport & Commercial Operations Michael Smith was highly supportive of the Finke Desert Race and its to decision to implement these changes.
“Finke is undoubtedly the biggest off road event in this country and collectively we need to keep making improvements to make sure there is a high standard of competition taking part every year,” Smith said.
“Every time a competitor races in Finke, they are putting themselves through a very rigorous event and you want to have every bit of confidence in the ability of those racing with and against you, so everyone can compete fairly and safely.”
The 2022 Tatts Finke Desert Race takes place between Alice Springs and Finke on 9-13 June, 2022.
Tatts Finke Desert Race special licence criteria*
(Competitors must be able to meet at least ONE of the below criteria**)
- Completed a minimum of two AORC rounds within the last 24 months. OR
- Have scored AORC outright points in a round of the previous season OR
- Must meet 100 points from items in the points checklist.
a.50 points, per Finke event competed at in the last five years.
b.25 points, per AORC event competed at in the last five years.
c.10 points, holding a current off road licence for more than three years; or
d.5 points, holding a current off road licence for less than three years.
*Motorsport Australia reserves the right to exercise their discretion in offering an ‘Off Road Special’ licence to suitable competitors.
**Notwithstanding the Recommendation, participation may be permitted on a case-by-case basis where the individuals satisfy Motorsport Australia having demonstrated a high level of vehicle control and course awareness at two local Motorsport Australia Off Road events in the past three years.