The Tattersall’s Finke Desert Race is an off road, multi terrain two-day race through desert country from Alice Springs to the small Aputula (Finke) Community. The race crosses the Finke River, believed to be the oldest river in the world. The race is held each year on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend (second weekend in June). In 2011 the event will be held from Friday 10th until Monday 13th June. “Finke” as it is known, is now one of the biggest annual sporting events in the Northern Territory. It is recognized as the richest Off Road Race in Australia with the added reputation of being one of the most difficult courses in one of the most remote places in the world. Finke is a unique event in that it enables people of all walks of life to become involved. Rarely would you find an event that has over 600 competitors racing over a 460km (280 miles) course that is open to all comers, it really is the most fun you can have with a helmet on!
The people of Alice turn out in droves to camp along the course, cheering on the competitors as they pass and possibly partaking adult beverages. Not being the camping sort, Dave, Dennis and I slept all warm and snug in our beds this Queen’s Birthday Weekend. We did however, venture out to the fairgrounds Friday evening for the Scrutineering process. This is where competitors must have their machines; safety equipment and clothing checked and passed for racing.
Dennis was completely enthralled with all the machines and would have happily stayed there all night. Here are few of the images captured that night.
|Here are the happy Wagg-Shaws checking out the racers for the Finke Desert Race.|
It took a while to convince him that his job was done and that we could move on.
One of the reasons so many people turn out to watch this race is that it’s not only for the professional racers with major sponsorship. Anyone can enter and compete. It’s considered quite a feat just to finish the race. While viewing the bikes, quads, buggies and trucks, its fun to see low budget local racers sitting next to professional racers that travel on the national circuit.
There was no doubt of who was leading who around the show grounds.