Jack Rhodes and David Pullino have completed a breakthrough win to be crowned Kings of the Desert for the first time at the 2019 Tatts Finke Desert Race, Round 2 of the 2019 BFGoodrich Tires CAM Australian Off Road Championship. The pair from Adelaide had finished the race on the podium four times previously (3rd in 2018 and 2017, 2nd in 2015 and 2014), and finally took the coveted win today in the #91 Jimco with an overall time of 3 hours and 42 minutes.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for Rhodes, recovering from a spectacular roll during the prologue to charge from 14th to 2nd outright on the first leg of the race from Alice Springs to Finke. Rhodes and Pullino then swiped the race lead from Toby Price on the return sprint, when a diff failure forced the #487 Red Bull racer out of the race between the Mt Squires and Bundooma check-points.
“I can’t believe we’ve come from that far back to win it,” said Rhodes. “I think with everything in the years leading up to this has made it even sweeter. It’s been a mental journey, but we’re here.” Rhodes said.
“We’ve finally done it. To be the bridesmaid so many times… it’s been a great effort to get there on the podium that many times, but this is so much sweeter now. The top step is awesome. ” added Pullino.
Josh Howells and Eric Hume stepped up from sixth outright in 2018, to the second step of the Finke podium in 2019, finishing 6 minute 33 seconds behind Rhodes in their #3 Jimco.
“I am over the moon, we didn’t stop working on the cars all last night, didn’t leave anything unturned,” Howells said.
On their second attempt at Finke, Brent Martin and Andre De Simone packed a punch in their #120 Prolite Jimco, piloting it to third outright in an overall time of 4hr and 41.7 seconds.
#21 Mark and Matthew Burrows were the first father-son duo to cross the finish line in fourth, with the 2018 Kings of the Desert, #1 Shannon and Ian Rentsch recovering from a puncture on the race down to Finke to end their race in fifth.
The family affair in the Top 10 continued with #133 Dale Martin – brother of third place Brent Martin – arriving in Alice Springs in sixth position alongside navigator Adrian Rowe. While Brent and Dale’s father, #25 Craig Martin was the last of the family home, with Ben Dawson in the navigators seat greeted the chequered flag in ninth.
The Martin’s were separated by #42 Danny Brown and George Apted in seventh, and #54 Troy Higgins and Josh Simmons in eighth.
The #401 entry of Brett Taylor, Peter Treis and Chris Hinspeter completed the Top 10.
CLASS RESULTS – OVERALL – 2019 TATTS FINKE DESERT RACE
PRO BUGGY : #91 JACK RHODES / DAVID PULLINO – 03:42:25.4
PROLITE BUGGY : #120 BRENT MARTIN / ANDRE DE SIMONE – 04:00:41.7
SUPER 1650 : 210 DECLAN CUMMINS / KARIN-ANN BARKER – 04:53:30.6
PERFORMANCE 2WD : #577 CHRIS PICKERT / BRYAN BROWN – 05:35:29.5
EXTREME 2WD : #401 BRETT TAYLOR / PETER TREIS – 04:19:07.1
PRODUCTION 4WD : #701 GEOFF PICKERING / DYLAN WATSON – 06:42:23.2
EXTREME 4WD : #881 TADAMITSU NIIHORI / MURRAY HYNES – 06:50:16.4
SXS TURBO : #603 GREG CAMPBELL / LACHLAN CAMPBELL – 04:42:05.3
SXS SPORT : #6649 HARRY WECKERT / CAITLIN STEPHENS – 05:29:41.9
SPORTSLITE : #1065 STEVEN GRAHAM / DARYL GRAHAM – 04:28:32.3