Waggs Walkabout

Monday, June 13, 2011


Each year on the Queen’s Birthday Weekend (one of the 13 paid holiday's workers in the NT get each year), Alice Springs plays host to the Finke Desert Race. I could take the time to write up an interesting explanation of the event OR I could copy and paste the explanation from the event website. So here’s what they have to say about the race.

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.
Dennis was completely enthralled and took the entire event very seriously and slightly bizarre level of reverence. He didn’t even crack that big cheeky grin of his when one of the contestants let him ride a quad runner while it was being pushed to the display space.

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.

The competitors were wonderful and as Dennis was checking out the vehicles, several insisted he climb on in and pose for a picture.

Since it was such a testosterone filled evening, we fed Dennis his first sausage roll. It just doesn’t get much more manly that greasy gut bombs and dirt racing.

That my dear friends, is the face of a cheeky little Russian and very happy boy.

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