West Australian Travis Robinson and Trent Anthony (#13 Jimco OBR Nissan 3500cc) have completed Day 1 of the 2017 Tatts Finke Desert Race as the lead car into Finke for the overnight stop of Australia’s greatest and toughest off-road event.
Travis Robinson was first away this morning from the Alice Springs start after having prologued in first position yesterday.
He was never challenged today for the 226 kilometre journey completed in a time of 1 hour 48 minutes and 44.6 seconds.
Second into Finke was the son and father team of Shannon and Ian Rentsch in their #33 Jimco Buggy Nissan 3500cc with a time of 1 hour 51minutes 58.4 seconds.
Movers in today’s field included Beau Robinson/Shane Hutt (#413 Geiser Bros Trophy Truck Chev 6000cc) who came into Finke in third spot with a time of 1 hour 54minutes 15.7 seconds ahead of Jack Rhodes/David Pullino (#1 Jimco Aussie Special Nissan 3500cc) who were fourth having completed the journey in a time of 1 hour 54 minutes 47.4 seconds.
Toby Price/Luke Henry (#487 Geiser 2015 Chev 6000cc) also moved up from their prologue position of seventh to finish at Finke today in fifth position with a time of 1 hour 56 minutes 16.5 seconds.
Greg Gartner/Jamie Jennings (#410 Ford F150 5900cc) who prologued in fifth position lost a large amount of time between the Bundooma and Mount Squires checkpoints and eventually came into Finke with a time of 2 hours 41 minutes 14.8 seconds well down the finishing list.
American competitor Harley Letner with Luke Ayers (#59 Tatum 2005 Chev 6000cc) in his first Finke event finished in 13th position with a time of 2 hours 17 minutes and 47.3 seconds.
A notable non finisher today was five time Tatts Finke Desert Race winner Mark Burrows/Colin Hodge(#21 Jimco 2012 Holden) who were reported to have hit a tree only 10 kilometres from Alice Springs in his 21st start of the event.
Last year’s winner Glenn Owen/Mathew Ryan (#30 Jimco Aussie Special Holden) were also non-finishers.
After camping overnight the car and buggy field will leave Finke tomorrow (Monday June 12) at 7.15am CST for the run back to the Alice Springs finish with the first cars expected to arrive at approximately 9.05am CST.
‘HALF THE JOB DONE’ AS DAVID WALSH LEADS THE WAY INTO FINKE FOR KTM
Local hero David Walsh was super-fast in the bike division today propelling his #3 KTM EXC500 down the track in first spot giving himself a strong chance of being the first Alice Springs rider to take the Tatts Finke Desert Race title since Ryan Branford won in 2006.
Walsh, who placed third last year was the only rider to crack the two hour barrier, with a time of 1 hour 58 minutes 4.8 seconds and is KTM’s lead rider in the absence of Toby Price who has been side-lined for the year’s bike event following injuries sustained in Dakar.
Second and third into Finke were also Northern Territory riders, namely Daymon Stokie (#4 Yamaha WR500F), followed by Luke Hayes (#6 KTM EXC500).
Stokie’s time was 2 hours 3minutes 49.9 seconds with Hayes taking 2 hours 8 minutes 37.6 seconds.
In fourth position was Kent Collins (#12 KTM EXC500) from South Australia coming in at 2 hours 13 minutes 2.3 seconds, placing him well up the field compared to his runs in 2015 and 2016.
The big loser was the man who started second on the grid, South Australian rider Ivan Long, suffering a puncture on his Husqvarna FE450 (#X99) forcing him to ride a considerable distance on a bare rim.
He did however recover well in the second part of the course to come into Finke fifth fastest with a time of 2 hours 13 minutes 51.4 seconds.
Jacob Smith (#X95 Honda CRF450R), who started in fourth position this morning, was a DNF with mechanical issues.
After camping over night the bike field will leave Finke tomorrow (Monday June 12) at 11.45am CST for the home run to Alice Springs with the first competitors expected to arrive at approximately. 2.00pm CST.