Reigning champions Shannon and Ian Rentsch have claimed back-to-back Tatts Finke Desert Race victories and the coveted 40th running of the annual desert race this year after crossing the finish line first and fastest in the #1 Hogs Breath Café / BFGoodrich Tires-backed Jimco. Starting from second place at Finke this morning, this year’s “Kings of the Desert” finished 550km of racing in a total time of 3hours 42minutes 20seconds, to claim their fourth Finke title. Their previous victories were in 2005 which was the 30th running of the event, 2006 and again last year in 2014.
Starting from pole position at Finke this morning, the #91 Rhodes Racing team of Jack Rhodes and David Pullino had been the fastest on day one yesterday and led through the first checkpoint until a flat tyre saw them stopped trackside early in the return run, finishing 6minutes 41seconds behind the Rentsch father and son team.
Outer Bounds Racing’s Beau Robinson (#3) and stand-in navigator Matt Hanson finished third outright and first of the Trophy Trucks home, followed by the Haby brothers, Aaron (#57) and Carl (#56) respectively, in fourth and fifth places.
Rounding out the rest of the top 10 were Ashley and Graham Mowbray (#20) in sixth, Hayden Bentley and Ben Chivell (#418) seventh, Steven Sanderson and Braeden O’Cass (#403) eighth, Michael Marson and Chris Colborne (#32) ninth and Chris Coulthard and Robert Hawker (#88) in 10th.
In the classes, Shawn and Robert Swaffield (#110) won Prolite Buggy over NT locals Andrew Mowles and Matthew Morgan (#135) who made up lost ground after rolling their Razorback yesterday on the way down to Finke.
Super 1650 Buggy polesitters Craig Prettejohn and Richie Hayes (#223) maintained their dominance all weekend being fastest to Finke yesterday and again today to take the class honours over 2013 class champions Russell and Judy Hartnett (#203) in their new-for-2015 Razorback Buggy.
Reigning Performance 2WD champions Paul Youman and Graham Kluck of Hillbilly Racing (#501) may have prologued the fastest on Saturday but when it came to racing it was last year’s Finke Class winner Dan Osinksi (#502) who came up trumps, taking this year’s class win with navigator Joe Butterworth. Second in class was Rat Racing’s Terry Pinson and Richard Den Brinker(#545) who moved up to second from a fourth-place prologue run.
While the Robinson and Hanson combination took the Trophy Truck honours, two-time Finke Champion Hayden Bentley (#418) came a strong second in class with navigator Ben Chivell in what was the first time the Bentley Motorsports team had fielded an Extreme 2WD.
Geoff Pickering and Dylan Watson (#701) took yet another Production 4WD Finke class title over Jason Galea and Markus Christie (#706) in the FJ Cruiser. While Luke Ayres and Josh Attard (#841) took Extreme 4WD over Aussie Racer Sandy Bowman in the #833 Nissan Patrol. Extreme 4WD frontrunners Clayton Chapman and Adam McGuire (#801) had been first to Finke yesterday in class despite losing front wheel drive earlier in the day, however losing rear drive as they crossed the finishline at the Apatula community yesterday meant they were unable to continue today. And in the UTVs, SA’s Toby Whateley and Simon Herrmann (#621) made up three places overnight to take the class win over Brent and Arlene Perrett (#644).
2015 FINKE CLASS WINNERS – PROVISIONAL
Pro Buggy – #1 Rentsch & Rentsch VIC
Prolite Buggy – #110 Swaffield & Swaffield QLD Super 1650 Buggy – #223 Prettejohn & Hayes NT Performance 2WD – #502 Osinski & Butterworth QLD Extreme 2WD – #3 B.Robinson WA & Hansen VIC
Production 4WD – #701 Pickering & Watson QLD Extreme 4WD – #841 Ayres & Attard QLD
UTV – #621 Whateley & Herrmann SA
All Results Here
Round 3 of the Australian Off Road Championship will be held in the Murray River town of Waikerie, South Australia, which is located just under two hours norht-east of Adelaide and two hours west of Mildura. For more information on the AORC click here