Finke organisers in talks to save Cars race

The 2022 Finke Desert Race

The 2022 Finke Desert Race

The fate of the Cars division of the 2023 Finke Desert Race hangs in the balance with organisers revealing they still have no Motorsport Australia permit.

As Speedcafe revealed earlier this week, doubts had been growing about the event, following last week’s coronial inquest into a spectator death in 2021.

Now, the Finke Desert Race committee has provided an official update on the situation, less than four weeks before it is due to start.

“The coronial inquest into the passing of Mr Nigel Harris at the 2021 Tatts Finke Desert Race concluded on Wednesday May 10 in Alice Springs,” began a statement.

“As a result of evidence during the inquest, Motorsport Australia are yet to issue a permit for the Auto (car) section of the 2023 Tatts Finke Desert Race. Discussions are continuing with Motorsport Australia with the support of the Northern Territory Government.

“The Finke Desert Race Committee understands and acknowledges the impact this uncertainty is having on competitors and their crews, officials, our event sponsors and contractors. We acknowledge the considerable public support for the event.

“The Finke Desert Race Committee takes seriously the safety of spectators and competitors and is reviewing its processes.

“Motorcycling Australia has confirmed its support for the Bike section of the event. Entries for the bike event close on Friday 19 May 2023.

“A further update will be issued at midday Thursday May 18, 2023.”

The event was to have been Round 3 of the Polaris Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship, the four-wheel competition.

The Bikes race is sanctioned by Motorcycling Australia, as the above statement alludes to.

Coronial findings into the death of Nigel Harris, who was fatally struck by a truck competing in the race two years ago, are yet to be handed down.

Scrutineering for the 2023 Finke Desert Race takes place on Saturday, June 9, followed by the Prologue in Alice Springs on June 10, then the outbound leg to Aputula (Finke) on June 11 and the return on the King’s Birthday public holiday.

Pending confirmation that the Cars race goes ahead, Toby Price would be aiming for a third straight outright victory on four wheels – after six on KTMs in the Bikes – while Ford Performance has entered a Walkinshaw-supported Ranger Raptor in the Production 4WD class.

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