Toby Price has taken an early lead in the 2022 Tatts Finke Desert Race, completing the first leg of the event in record time.
It was a brutal day for a number of crews and leading contenders in the BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship, but for Price it was smooth sailing as he reached the Apatula community in a new record of one hour and 36 minutes.
Aaron James was second to Finke, his time five minutes slower than Price’s, but in reaching Finke, he moved ahead of Josh Howells earlier in the day. Disappointingly for the AORC regular, Howells was forced to retire midway through the journey from Alice.
It was a similar story for Pooncarie Desert Dash podium finisher Shane Elphinstone, who made it almost 20km before facing an early retirement.
Third across the line was Prolite competitor, Brent Martin, eclipsing a number of leading contenders and the majority of the more powerful trophy trucks.
Among those who suffered on Sunday was Beau Robinson in his brand new Trophy Truck, classified as one of the last of the finishers in 104th. Robinson ending up close to two hours behind Price’s record time.
AORC leader Ryan Taylor also had a less than ideal result, finishing in 40th. However, should he finish on Monday, will bank more valuable points for his title bid given a number of his nearest competitors also struggled on Sunday.
In the KINCROME SXS Motorsport Australia Championship, Jeff McNiven leads the way ahead of Josh Ferguson and Lachy Bailey. Prologue winner Peter Carr sits in fourth of the SXS runners.
In the SXS Sport, John Wisse continued his good run of form in 2022, ahead of the only other finisher in class – Samuel Crammond.
Pro-buggy class honours for day one went to James, with Tyler Owen second and multiple Finke Desert Race winner Shannon Rentsch in third after a strong Sunday.
While Martin leads the Prolite class, Jason Richards sits six minutes behind Martin, with AORC class leader Mel Brandle in third.
Price understandably leads all Extreme 2WD entrants thanks to his record run, while Greg Gartner made a strong return to the AORC with a second place in class. Toby Whateley sits third of those still in contention.
Hayden Bentley performed strongly as the top Extreme 4WD competitor, ahead of Michael Dolan and Joshua Nurrish.
Rodney Visser leads the Sportslite class, almost two minutes ahead of Sam Bentley, with Jason Wilson a further 14 minutes down the road.
In the S1650 class, Simon Tucker will start first in class tomorrow, ahead of Timothy Button and Peter Baulch.
While in the Production 2WD, Chris Pickert leads Andy Maxwell and Mark Wakeman.
One of the greats of the AORC, Geoff Pickering, leads Production 4WD ahead of Jodie Allen.
Those who failed to make it to the line included Matt Hanson, Paul Weel, Simon Evans, Nic Hicks, Rick Chambers, Warren Luff and Phil Lovett, who was debuting in a new Extreme 4WD truck instead of the familiar SXS entry.