ECHUCA’S Sam Davie has taken on the toughest off road desert race in the world and crushed it to finish fifth outright in the bike and quad.
The 2017 Finke Desert Race came to an end of Monday with more than 500 bikes, quads, cars and buggies competing for the race’s 42nd title, its 30th since cars were introduced.
In a race usually dominated by KTM bikes, Davie went on to become the fastest Victorian across the line on his Husqvarna.
The 452km return journey from Alice Springs to Finke is known as one of the most gruelling multi-terrain tracks with some whoops reaching as high as six feet.
Davie finished the first day of the race in two hours and 15 minutes, recording an even faster time on the return (two hours and 12 minutes) to be just 15 minutes behind the overall winner.
Alice Springs rider Daymon Stokie took out the race in four hours and 11 minutes and son and father duo Shannon and Ian Rentsch won outright in the cars and buggies, making it their fifth win.
Many riders from the district made the trip to the centre of Australia to tackle the course, Echuca’s Lloyd Woolman finishing 16th outright on his KTM 500.
Jayden Page, another Husqvarna specialist, finished the race 55th outright and Jason Collins came in 75th, while Tongala’s Darcy Regan finished 170th.
Damien Bingham from Echuca also made it inside the top 200 riders and Matt McIntosh was also one of the many to complete the race.
In the car and buggies, Tim Pickford and Adrian Van Der Sluys of Sapphire Off Road Racing finished 17th outright and fifth in the extreme 2 wheel drive class in a time of four hours and 59 minutes.
Money Box Racing’s Alan Dixon, John O’Connor and Rob Patterson had a trying day one which included three running repairs on the side of the track before being towed to the finish from the 140km mark.
A new steering arm saw them take on day two with fresh vigour, coming fifth in their class and 17th outright in two hours and 21 minutes.
Dixon said the race was harder than expected for his first attempt at Finke.
‘‘It was worth every effort in the end to come back on the Monday,’’ Dixon said.
‘‘The dust was the hardest part on the Sunday and there wasn’t any wind to clear it away.
‘‘A broken front bolt in our steering arm meant we had to pull out in the end.’’
Dixon said the buggy handled the track beautifully, passing around 20 cars on the return on Monday, and he looked forward to eventually giving the race another crack.
‘‘We’ll do a bit more preparation ahead of the next year and see how we go,’’ Dixon said.
‘‘I still got a few points towards the Australian titles and should be sitting well ahead of the finals at Rainbow this August.’’
The Riv hopes to speak with Davie this week about his incredible achievement.