The Minister for Central Australia Matt Conlan MLA has officially launched the 2014 Tatts Finke Desert Race.
Speaking at the launch function in Alice Springs Mall yesterday, Mr Conlan said ‘the Northern Territory Government is proud to support Tatts Finke Desert Race which has grown into one of the Territory’s most iconic events’.
In attendance at the launch that was witnessed by a strong contingent of locals and visitors to Todd Mall, Alice Springs was last year’s bike winner Todd Smith together with his brother Jacob who ran second in the event.
Representing the car contingent were 2012 winner Brad Gallard, Billy Geddes who plans to compete in this year’s event in both the bike and cars competition, and Steven Sanderson from Alice Springs who has a new Trophy Truck he recently shook down in a race in the USA.
The Smith brothers from Condoblin in NSW who will be aboard their pair of Honda CRF450R machines suggested that the competition will be tough from the KTM riders and some ‘fast local riders’.
They also indicated that the track was rough especially for the first 40 kilometres from the Alice Springs start.
Queenslander Billy Geddes who is attempting the unique double on both four wheels and two said he aimed to win in his Trophy Truck and ride sensibly to survive on his KTM two-wheeled machine.that is being supported by Ben Grabham and the KTM Desert team.
Brad Gallard said he was optimistic of success this year after withdrawing from the 2013 Finke with engine problems that saw him limp through prologue.
Steven Sanderson was also sounding optimistic given that his Jaws Racing Jimco Trophy Truck had finished 27th out of a 300 car strong field in its maiden run in the USA.
Finke Desert Race Club President Antony Yoffa praised the event’s naming rights sponsor Tatts for its substantial increase in funding and support over 15 years.