"The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever." Isaiah 40:8

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Tatts Finke Desert Race 2015

(Please note this is not a card related post - please skip over this one if you're not interested.)

As some of you know my family and I recently travelled to Alice Springs (middle of Australia) for my husband to compete in the Tatts Finke Desert Race 2015. It is an off-road, multi terrain two-day race for bikes, cars, buggies and quads from Alice Springs to the small Aputula (Finke) community. It is one of the biggest annual sporting events in the Northern Territoy and has the reputation of being one of the most difficult off-road courses in one of the most remote places in the world.

This year was their 40th year and they had a record number of cars/buggies and bikes/quads competing. They race over a 226 km track from Alice Springs to Finke (on day 1) and must complete the track in 4 hours (although due to dust a time limit of 4.5 hours was allowed this year). On Day 2 they do the track in reverse (Finke to Alice Springs) with the same time limit. For the support crew (me and our two daughters) we travelled around the long way (430 km along highway and gravel road) so that my husband could have somewhere to sleep after race day 1.

Of the 125 cars/buggies that started the race, only 60 managed to finish and of the 518 bikes/quads that started only 473 finished.

I was very proud of my husband, who did manage to finish the race coming in number 230 with a total time of 6 hrs 59 mins and 39 seconds (of an allowed time of 9 hours). The track was VERY dusty and he fell off / ran in to a few people a couple of times (damaged a few parts on the bike too) but nothing major and managed to finish the race on both days.

I was a little apprehensive about driving around the "long way" to Finke by myself but God was watching over us :-) The last 150 km traveling to Finke is a gravel road, and if you can imagine around 600 + vehicles and trailers traveling on the same road... let's just say I'm glad I'm still alive! On the way back was even more interesting as our car decided it didn't need its tail shaft anymore! I'm very thankful some nice people stopped to help me remove the part of the tailshaft that didn't break off and told me I could put it in 4WD and continue to drive slowly on the front diff. This meant that it took me a lot longer to get back to Alice Springs and I missed seeing my husband finish the race, but we all got back there safely...that was the main thing.

So, while it was fun and I'm glad my husband completed the race, I found it all rather exhausting (it was a lot of waiting around and sometimes not knowing when and where you are meant to be (a few things went wrong this year making it confusing for everyone)) and not really a "holiday" (although I didn't really expect it to be one). I'm not sure it's something I want to be doing again any time soon. Maybe we will go back and watch the 50th anniversary :-)

Below are some pics from our trip:

To get to Alice Springs we decided to travel on the Great Central Road (approximately 1200 km of gravel). We have driven on this road 9 years ago (dusty and blue skies), this time it decided to rain on us for three days - mud, lots of mud!

Great Central Road - lots of puddles, did I mention mud, lots of mud?!!

This is all we saw of The Olgas (Kata Tjuta) which are a group of large domed rock formations located within the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. They remind me of the Bungle Bungles (in the Purnululu National Park (a World Heritage area) close to where we used to live in the north of Western Australia).

This is Ayers Rock (or now known as Uluru) located approximately 50 km from The Olgas in the Uluru-Tjuta National Park and is a world heritage area. Nine years ago we saw this amazing rock in blue skies so it was really something to see it covered in cloud. It is a large sandstone rock formation standing 348 m (1142 ft) high with most of its bulk lying underground. It has a total circumference of 9.4 km (5.8 miles). Amazingly impressive when you view it with your own eyes.

Tatts Finke Desert Race 2015, bike, Husaberg 570, Aputula, Alice Springs
When you're in front - there is no dust! Unfortunately this was just pre-running the track (practicing) and on race days he got covered in dust!

Tatts Finke Desert Race 2015, bike, Husaberg 570, Aputula, Alice Springs, prologue
Prologue (racing around a small track to determine start times for race day 1) start times were all messed up so my poor husband ending up competing quite late in the day - with the sun in his eyes, meaning that he was a lot slower than he could've been, starting further back in the pack on race day 1.

Tatts Finke Desert Race 2015, bike, Husaberg 570, Aputula, Alice Springs, prologue
This is him coming in to Finke at the end of race day 1. I never made it back to Alice Springs in time to get a picture of him finishing race day 2 (but he did make it!)

On our way home we visited "Wave Rock" located near Hyden, Western Australia. This is a granite rock shaped like a tall breaking ocean wave and is about 14 m (46 ft) high and approximately 110 m (360 ft) long.

Our two girls once we were back home wearing their Finke memorabilia shirts :-)

If you're interested there are some more photos in my facebook album.

Home now and back to reality (and back to my cards (and Copics))!!

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