Australia’s Greatest Desert Race – Queens Birthday Weekend June 9th -12th 2017
This year’s (2017) Tatts Finke Desert Race to be held from June 9-12th and will be the forty second (42nd) occasion Australia’s greatest desert race has been held.
Significantly it is also the 30th time that cars have competed in the event that has its origins as a bike only affair known as the “There and Back” race dating way back to 1976. While 2016 Dakar winner and five time Tatts Finke Desert bike race winner Toby Price won’t be tackling the grueling event on his KTM this year as a result of not having fully recovered from injuries sustained in this year’s Dakar, he has entered in the Extreme 2 wheel Drive class in the #487 Geiser Trophy Truck Chevy 6000cc machine.
The four-wheel ability of Price is unquestioned having run second last year in his maiden car attempt on the gruelling 452 kilometre journey from Alice Springs to Finke and back. Last year’s car winner combination Glenn Owen and Mathew Ryan (Jimco Buggy) return to defend their title along with a star studded field including previous Finke winners Hayden Bentley, Greg Gartner, Brad Gallard, Shannon Rentsch and David Fellows.
Of special interest will be the Finke debut of American off road superstar Harley Letner, a two time Baja 500 winner and currently un- defeated in the 2017 US Best of the Desert Series.
The battle for bike supremacy in 2017 becomes difficult to predict given the absence of Price this year and the fact the only current rider to disturb his run of victories commencing in 2012 is Todd Smith who took his sole Finke victory in 2013.
Todd Smith and brother Jacob are likely to be in contention for Honda, while Yamaha riders Josh Green and Daymon Stokie, who won the Baja 1000 in 2016, are carrying the flag for Yamaha.
As for KTM, third on the podium last year is a great spring board for Alice Spring’s own David Walsh to make the giant step up to victory in his ‘home town’ event. With the exception of Todd Smith’s 2013 victory, KTM has dominated the event, being the winning Finke manufacturer every other year since 2009.
2016 Tatts Finke Desert Race Results:
Toby Price KTM
Tye Simmonds KTM
David Walsh KTM
Glenn Owen/Mathew Ryan (Jimco Buggy)
Toby Price/Kyle Pfiitzner (Trophy Truck)
Beau Robinson/Stephen Ketteridge-Hall (Trophy Truck)
Saturday June 10 – Prologue cars commence at 8.00am. Bikes commence at 12.30pm
Sunday June 11 – Cars depart Alice Springs at 7.15am. Bikes depart Alice Springs at 11.30am
Monday June 12 – Cars depart Finke at 7.15am. Bikes depart Finke at 11.45am
For more info:
All photos provided by NT Event Photography.