WA’s Travis Robinson and his co-driver Trent Anthony (above) have blitzed the 130 strong car field in the Prologue to decide the start order for this weekend’s 2017 Tatts Finke Desert Race.
Robinson took ‘pole’, powering his #13 Jimco OBR Nissan 3500cc to a remarkable time of 4 minutes 50.1 seconds around the 8.3km prologue track. Compare that to last year’s fastest lap of 5 minutes and 12 seconds achieved by Jack Rhodes.The 2017 Gascoyne Dash winner Troy Schoen and his co-driver Deb Schoen – also from WA – are contesting the Pro Buggy class in their SS Racetech Pro Hustler.They’ll join some 700 vehicles for what is considered one of Australia’s most grueling desert races.
Another entrant is Dakar Rally winner Toby Price who’ll pilot a Geiser 6.0-litre 4WD Chevrolet Trophy Truck in the 452km off-road scramble, from Alice Springs to Finke and back, in Australia’s Red Centre.
It’s the 42nd running of the Finke which traverses extremely rugged terrain that “is best tackled with long-travel suspension and heavy-duty bash plates”, according to organisers.
Toby Price, the first Aussie to win Dakar – the world’s most challenging desert race – is a five-time Finke winner.
Last year he won the motorcycle category outright. But but he’s racing four wheels in ’17 because he’s still recovering from a particularly nasty broken leg from this year’s Dakar.
Among his many challengers is US off-road hero Harley Letner who has won the legendary Baja 500 desert race twice and is undefeated in the 2017 US Best of the Desert Series.
Whoever wins the coveted bike trophy will have to beat the likes of brothers Todd and Jacob Smith on their mighty Hondas.
The 2017 Finke Desert Racefinishes Monday, June 12.