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Finke Desert Race 2024: Robinson's stunning Finke victory
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Finke Desert Race 2024: Robinson's stunning Finke victory

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Beau Robinson and Shane Hutt are the 2024 Tatts Finke Desert Race champions, claiming a historic first ever victory of the Northern Territory event after multiple attempts.

Having finished on the podium at the iconic off-road race six times prior, but never on the top step, 2024 will go down in history for Robinson and Hutt who saluted with a five minute lead over their nearest rivals.

Crossing the line in second was Brett Comiskey who took over driving duties from Billy Geddes on Monday for the drive from Aputula to Alice Springs, with navigators Corey Cooper and Alan Cornick also sharing the second seat over the two days.

Rounding out the podium were James Cook and navigator Mitch Aucote – the pair still managing to secure the final step on the dais despite a rollover on Monday morning close to Alice Springs. Despite the roll, the pair continued on and finished on a high.

For Robinson, this victory was a long time coming.

“It feels really good, we’ve come close a lot of times,” Robinson said post-race.

“We were certainly not counting our chickens through the run back. When we got about 10km out (from Alice Springs), I was thinking we might do this.”

Robinson admitted today’s 223km drive home was not one of his quickest.

“We conserved massively. I’ve never driven that slow in my life,” Robinson added.

“We wanted to make sure we finished. We were really keeping a check on ourselves, tried to keep it in one piece, just really look after her (the car).

“I’ve been coming up here a long time and you don’t realise it but you learn a lot of little things you know. The race comes to you – you used to think you had to chase it. We knew where to push and where to back down – and that’s how I got here today.”

And with the race victory in the bag, Robinson and his Outer Bounds Racing team expected a big night of celebrations.

“We’re turning it on, we’re turning it on and this time it’s a celebratory one,” he said.

Monster Energy Honda Team during the Podium Ceremony of the 2024 Desafio Ruta 40, on June 7, 2024 in Córdoba, Argentina

In the class battles, the Transportable Shade Sheds Motorsport Australia SXS Championship saw Jeff McNiven cross the line more than 13 minutes ahead of the nearest SXS competitor – however McNiven faces a 15-minute penalty for what Stewards deemed was an illegal pre-run of the course earlier in the week, with results to be determined shortly.

If that penalty is applied to the standings, the SXS honours would go to Greg Campbell alongside daughter Tori Campbell in their Can-Am. The final standings will be made available on aorc.com.au in the coming days.

Robinson’s victory also doubled as the class victory for Extreme 2WD, while Andrew Brown was the fastest of the Extreme 4WD runners.

Cook and Aucote’s outright podium also saw them claiming class honours in the Pro Buggy class ahead of Michael Zacka.

Mel Brandle and Liam Brandle finished another Finke and in doing so claimed Prolite honours.

Paul Tinga ad Daniel Kelsey were fastest in the Sportslite class, while Timothy Wier and Mark Nietschke would go on to win Super 1650 class honours.

Michael Shipton was fastest of the Performance 2WD competitors in 35th outright.

It was a disappointing Monday for Craig Lowndes and Dale Moscatt who failed to finish in their Chevrolet on Monday, meaning the back-to-back Production 4WD class winners were the team from Ford Performance Racing – Brad Lovell and Byam Lovell impressing on the run to Alice to secure the victory.

John White and Jack Brigs would also do more than enough to secure the SXS Sport honours after making it there and back in just over six hours.

The 2024 BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship season continues next month with the Loveday 400 to take place at Loveday 4×4 Adventure Park in South Australia on 28-30 July.

Source: AORC
Photo: SHOW ‘N’ GO PHOTOGRAPHY

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