Whilst many spent the long weekend relaxing, three of the region’s best motorbike racers tackled 226 kilometres of grueling track for the 2017 Tatts Finke Desert Race.
Moree’s Jesse Moore and Julie Denyer, and Warialda’s Brett Carroll made the trip, from the black soil plains to Alice Springs, weeks leading up to the event.
Thanks to the help of Carroll’s mother Jackie, driving a ute up and down Finke’s service road loaded with fuel, the three were able to average 100-200 kilometres of track riding each day.
“The track deteriorated before our eyes as more and more Finke competitors arrived to have a run before the big race,” Denyer said.
After months of bike setups and preparations, the trip was not without a few small dramas.
Three days out from the race Carroll and Denyer both crashed whilst pre-racing on the dusty track. Carroll injured his knee and Denyer bent her handle bars and snapped a steering dampener pin.
“Jesse stayed upright but was hit with bad luck on the same day when the rear shock on his bike failed. Repairs were done, favours were called in and parts salvaged; a knee was strapped and all three of us made it to the start.”
The trio lined the track in their respective starting places and used their physical and mental strength to push through the toughest conditions Finke has displayed to date.
As the track had seen no rain since January, parts of the track were falling apart creating blinding dust, knee deep dust holes and a fair few crashes.
Carroll finished 21st outright from a 41st start, Moore crossed the line 22nd outright from a 75th start and Denyer placed 364th outright from a 479th start, out of 620 overall competitors.
“Jesse said he choked on dust the whole way down to Finke and back but was happy to gain as many spots as he did. He will be back next year to try and make that desired top twenty spot,” she said.
Denyer said the race was an amazing experience and fans provided an uplifting atmosphere as they lined the track cheering racers on in the freezing conditions.
“There were people lined up for the last 20 kms just clapping and cheering for you on your way home.”
The Carroll and Denyer family were thanked for their support through months of preparation and during the race weekend.
“It's a tough gig to be pit crew for a race that's in such a remote location; 3000 kms away.”
“We couldn't do such a massive trip across Australia with out major sponsors: Darren and Stacey Hart, Ice House Logistics, Greg and Wendy Woods, Ruby Soles, Crowe family, Rob Kemp Landforming, Funnel Webb Filters, Novik Gloves, Readings Meats, Thomas-Lee Motorcycles, CJR Motorsports and to so many of our friends that chipped in we thank you all so much and look forward to FINKE 2018.”