Tatts Finke – Australia’s Greatest Desert Race
Tatts Finke is Australia’s Biggest Desert Race and we were onsite just for you faithful fuelers. With dust and whoops and an extremely rough track, the racers had plenty on their minds and had their hands full. Started in 1976, and located in the center of Australia’s harsh desert, the race goes from Alice Springs to the small desert community of Aputula. It’s pretty harsh out here.
Festivities started on Thursday evening with a street party held in the main shopping precinct of Alice Springs. Thousands turned out hoping to grab an autograph from one of their heroes or maybe grab a pic with one of the Finke Ambassador girls. If that wasn’t what you were looking for there was also demonstration from Showtime FMX on the ramp and a market to browse.
Friday night the attention turns to the start/finish line area with 130 Cars and 616 Motorbikes passing through scrutineering or “tech” as you call in in the states. Once competitors passed through scrutineering it was time to park them up on display and enjoy the carnival atmosphere. Over 7,000 people turned out to witness this spectacle. Having attend many off-road Races in Australia I had never witnessed anything like this previously.
Saturday morning the festivities are over and it’s down to business. With the dry weather leading up to the race, dust would be an issue so a high starting point was the order of the day for all competitors.
It was five time Finke winner Shannon Rentsch taking first honours in his Jimco Pro buggy closely followed by the Trophy Trucks of Beau Robinson in second and Greg Gartner in third. In the bike section it was Dakar winner and five time Finke winner Toby Price on his KTM taking the top position from Ivan Long and Jacob Smith.
With overnight maintenance it was Shannon who set out in the early hours of Monday morning in pursuit of a record sixth title. The eight-time Australian Champions pushed their Jimco Aussie Special Pro Buggy to claim the outright win by more than 16 minutes in a time of 3:36:37.
David Fellows, himself a five-time Finke Desert Race winner, and navigator Mark Bergaminn were second across the line in the Geiser Bros Trophy Truck followed by 2016 Australians Off Road Champion Jack Rhodes and David Pullino in their Jimco Pro Buggy to round out the podium in third.
After a less than perfect start to his Finke campaign having rolled his buggy in prologue, Talbot Cox and Andrew North were impressive in their Racer Engineering Carbon Series Toyota to cross the line in fourth while Michael Marson and Chris Colbourne rounded out the top five.
In the bike section it was Toby Price crossing the line first on his KTM followed by David Wash and Jack Simpson rounding out the podium and creating a KTM white wash.
Having never been to Finke before it was everything I expected and more. I said I would do Finke once to say I’ve been there and done that, however after attending this year’s festivities, I’m going back for sure. If you are interested in motorsport at all I highly recommend heading to the centre of Australia for the next instalment of the Tatts Finke Desert Race in 2019.