Following on from his stellar performance at the Cobb & Co Hotel St George 399, Jason Richards is hoping a bumpy start to the 2021 Tatts Finke Desert Race will not prevent him from a solid weekend.
Having finished fourth in the BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC) season opener in St George in March, Richards now finds himself with an opportunity to move up the standings after the man who beat him, Michael Spokes, was unable to get to the Northern Territory.
However, while Richards was initially excited about finally being able to attend Australia’s biggest off road race for the first time this year, the New South Welshman has had major dramas over the past week – putting a small dampener on what should be a happy experience.
Last week, his Prolite Buggy suffered a major engine malfunction and Richards had to replace the motor as a whole, but just days out from the event, his new motor broke down again, forcing yet another engine build and plenty of uncertainty to creep in.
Although he has had a very rocky lead up to the second round of the AORC, Richards remains upbeat about being at the event, but admitted the goalposts have shifted.
“I am not so confident to be honest due to the engine dramas. It makes it difficult when you’re on a third motor within a week,” Richards said.
“I was originally hoping to have a strong result in the event, even if it is my first attempt, but now I am just focused on finishing the race if I can.
“Of course I am going to be a bit cautious, but truth be told, once I put the helmet on, things always change and I’ll be going pretty hard throughout the race.
“While this is my first time racing, I’ve been helping out Steven Graham for the past few years and know this event well. I also saw the track earlier this week and it looks pretty good and very fast in sections, so it should be a good few days – if I can avoid more engine dramas.
“At the end of the day though, I am just stoked to be here and I’m soaking it up because it’s just such a great atmosphere.”
The event officially gets underway on Saturday morning with the Method Race Wheels Prologue, where crews will be battling it out for cash prizes and prime positions.
On Sunday morning, they then head down to Finke at 8am ACST before returning to Alice Springs on Monday morning at the same time.
Each day of racing will be live streamed via the Tatts Finke Desert Race YouTube Page and live results will be available through the AORC website.
The Tatts Finke Desert Race takes place in Alice Springs and Finke on 12-14 June.
Photo: Terry Hill Photography