Robinson and Hutt fastest to Finke in Race Day 1

Beau Robinson and Shane Hutt have continued their brilliant start to the Tatts Finke Desert Race by winning Race Day 1.

With a field of 114 crews attempting to make their way down to the remote community of Aputula (Finke), it was the Outer Bounds Racing Trophy Truck of Robinson and Hutt who recorded the fastest time of the day, beating Billy Geddes and Corey Cooper to the line.

Starting from the front, Robinson took advantage of a dust-free path, to record a time of one hour and 41 minutes, which was almost eight minutes faster than his time last year down to Finke last year.

Behind the leaders, there was plenty of drama as Geddes steered the ex-Toby Price Finke-winning Trophy Truck to an overall time just one and a half minutes slower than the leaders, overtaking four cars on the way to second place.

Also getting some overtaking done on the day was Extreme 4WD leader Brent Smoothy and navigator four-time Bikes King of the Desert, David Walsh, who ended up just four minutes behind Robinson and Hutt with the third fastest time of the day.

Going fourth fastest were Pro Buggy leaders James Cook and Mitch Aucote, who overcame multiple rolls during the run down to Finke to post a solid time one and half minutes slower than Smoothy, while reigning Extreme 2WD Champion Nick Commins and Ryan Galvin rounded out the top five – marking a dominant day for trophy trucks.

Following on from the opening day, Robinson was pleased to lead the field but admitted conditions were proving quite a challenge.

“It is interesting, You look at Smoothy in third and Geddes in second – that’s three trucks.” Robinson said.

“I knew it was going to be rough.It’s a torturous place, but it’s good. We are going to treat this thing (truck) with love and respect tomorrow.”

While stoked to be fastest to Aptaula, Robinson knew the hard work was far from over.

“We’ve been here before,” Robinson said.

“We’ve matured a lot over the last few years. We know we have to get here, but we know we have to get home. It’s half way – we may as well be at the start because it means nothing now.”

Just missing out on a top five finish by 14 seconds was Danny Brown and George Apted, who started the day in fourth place, while Justin and Jamie Montesalvo guided the Patriot Campers Trophy Truck to seventh respectively.

Photos: Show ‘n’ Go Photography

It was an entertaining battle for seventh place as multiple-time champion Mark Burrows and son Tom Burrows beat Prolite leaders Mel and Liam Brandle by 11 seconds, with Aaron James a further 30 seconds off to round out the top 10.

Claiming top honours in the Transportable Shade Sheds Motorsport Australia SXS Championship was Jeff McNiven and Jake Nicholson, who went 17th fastest overall.

Other notable class results from the day include Rod and Kodi Visser in 22nd overall and leading the Sportslite class, the 33rd placed Timothy Weir and Mark Nietschke on top of the Super 1650 class, and Supercars legend Craig Lowndes taking out Production 4WD with a record-breaking run down to Aputula alongside Dale Moscatt.

The first day of action saw no shortage of heartache, with a number of high-profile retirements occurring, including Travis Robinson, Method Race Wheels Prologue runner-up, Carl Haby, Matt Hanson, Ryan Taylor and SXS contender Glen Ackroyd, while six-time Finke champion Shannon Rentsch was unable to start due to mechanical dramas yesterday.

View provisional results.

Race Day 2 of the Tatts Finke Desert Race continues tomorrow, with the leading trophy truck of Robinson and Hutt to depart Finke at 7:15am ACST.