Finke Delivers Fairytale Finish
Adelaide-based pair Jack Rhodes and David Pullino completed a breakthrough win in the car category, while local rider David Walsh took out top honours in the bike category.
Walsh completed a lights-to-flag victory that saw him seal first place in 3 hours and 56 minutes, giving him his first King of the Desert crown on his 12th attempt.
“Words cannot describe how I feel right now,” said Walsh.
“I’m just happy to have my family and friends here to help throughout the whole year. They’re just amazing.
“The work that goes into this and the backing I get from my wife and family is insane, so I think it is all worth it.”
Walsh’s win saw him beat his second-place record in the 2012, 2014 and 2018 events, where he was beaten to top spot by race favourite and six-time King of the Desert Toby Price.
Price, who raced in the car category with Jason Duncan in 2019 to protect a healing wrist injury, was in first place at the end of the first day. However, a mechanical issue forced the Red Bull racer to pull out between the Mt Squires and Bundooma checkpoints on the second day.
In an odd twist of fate, Price’s absence from the bike race and DNF ranking in this year’s car event has potentially opened the door to first-time champions in both vehicle categories.
Rhodes and Pullino won the car category in a time of 3 hours and 42 minutes, beating second-placed Josh Howells and Eric Hume by 6 minutes and 33 seconds. The duo and their Jimco Aussie Special Nissan 3500cc started the race to Finke in 14th position after rolling their car during Prologue, making their win across the approximately-452km race all the more impressive.
“I can’t believe we’ve come from that far back to win it,” said Rhodes.
Rhodes and Pullino had previously finished 3rd in 2017 and 2018 and 2nd in 2014 and 2015, their maiden crown arriving after 4 previous podium appearances.
“I think with everything in the years leading up to this has made it even sweeter.
“It’s been a mental journey, but we’re here.”
This year’s dramatic finish has reinforced Finke’s unique claim of being Australia’s ultimate desert race. However, with the 2019 edition done and dusted, it’s time to look ahead towards 2020, and perhaps the biggest and most fiercely competed Finke Desert Race ever. You can view the race results for the bike category here and the car category here.
TJM is a sweep vehicle partner and sponsor of the Finke Desert Race, and to celebrate this year’s race we’re holding a Finke My Ride sale. Featuring savings on everything that your 4×4 needs to get to Finke in 2020, now’s the time to get your 4WD equipped for the Outback and beyond.
Hurry in to your local TJM today – the sale ends June 30.