Highly anticipated fight for Finke ready to roll

The premier event of the 2024 BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC) season has arrived.

Serving as the second round of the AORC season, this year’s Tatts Finke Desert Race will welcome 125 of the best off roaders from around the country, fighting it out for the crown jewel of Australian off road racing.

The only thing separating crews between themselves and the King of the Desert title is more than 450 competitive kilometres on a gruelling course that takes no prisoners.

With the street party on Thursday night in Alice Spring’s Todd Mall and the Scrutineering party taking over the Start/Finish complex on Friday night, official formalities don’t begin until early on Saturday morning, when crews contest the ever-important Transportable Shade Sheds Prologue at 7am ACST.

On Sunday, the official race gets underway with crews to tackle the 224-kilometre track to Aputula (Finke), before returning up the 224km course on Monday morning, where the winner will be crowned King of the Desert – a fitting tribute to the King’s Birthday Public Holiday.

View the full schedule here.

Just who will take out that special honour remains a mystery with so many crews with a genuine chance of winning the event – making this one of the most even rounds in recent history.

With no Toby Price entered this year, picking a winner is a difficult task, as there are a handful of superstars looking for their first victory here having come close on multiple occasions, including the likes of Travis and Beau Robinson, Aaron James and Matt Hanson.

There is also a mixture of up and comers, experienced campaigners and veterans of the sport who will be looking to make their mark at the iconic event including James Cook, Tom Owen, Aaron Haby, Ryan Taylor, Adam Trewhella and Brent Smoothy.

Photo: Matthew Daniele

Of course, you can never discount the drivers who have done it before and know what it takes to win the event, with Shannon Rentsch, Hayden Bentley and Mark Burrows all hoping to add their tallies.

Outside of the main contenders, each class is stacked with talent competitors desperate to claim a class title – most notably the Transportable Shade Sheds Motorsport Australia SXS Championship.

A strong field of 39 crews will contest the popular competition and will continue the entertaining battle from April’s Wentworth Shire Pooncarie Desert Dash, with the likes of Lachlan Bailey, Greg Campbell, Glenn Brinkman, James Mogford and Glen Ackroyd likely to be full of confidence.

Throw in Jeff McNiven and Jackson Evans into the mix, and the SXS class will definitely be one of the most entertaining competitions for fans to keep an eye on.

In addition to the SXS class, one class that will attract the attention of motorsport fans around the world will be that of the Production 4WD class, where the Ford v Chevrolet will enjoy another chapter in its classic rivalry.

Not only is the manufacturer aspect of the event intriguing, but the crews themselves will add to the excitement.

Photo: Dan Thompson

Returning from the United States will be Brad and Byam Lovell in the Ford Ranger Raptor, with last year’s class winners to be up against Australian motorsport megastar, Craig Lowndes, who will be behind the wheel of the Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 alongside the ever-experienced Dale Moscatt as his navigator.

View the full entry list.

Ahead of this year’s highly anticipated event, Finke Desert Race Club President Antony Yoffa was looking forward to the battle within the cars.

Spectators are welcome to attend the event, however attendees are required to follow all implemented safety measures, including always standing 30 metres away from the track and obeying spectator ‘No Go’ zones.

Get more information on Spectator Safety requirements.

Fans unable to watch the event will be able to tune in via the Finke Desert Race live stream, which you can view here.

The 2024 Tatts Finke Desert Race takes place in Alice Springs and the remote community of Aputula on 7-10 June.