Alice Springs was roaring with car and bike fanatics during the Queen’s Birthday long weekend as the annual Tatts Finke Desert Race kicked off. The iconic Tatts Finke Desert Race is an off-road, multi-terrain two-day race where motorbikes, cars, buggies and quads race through harsh desert country from Alice Springs to the small remote Aputula (Finke) community and back again.

The race has a reputation of being one of the biggest motor racing events in Australia, and one of the most difficult and remote courses in the world. It is a one-of-a-kind event where professional riders and amateurs compete against each other for the chance to win the title of King of the Desert. 

After a gruelling two days of racing across treacherous red dirt, David Walsh was crowned 2019’s King of the Desert in the motorbike category, and Jack Rhodes and David Pullino were crowned the Kings of the Desert in the car category.

Two of the winners were born in Alice Springs and all three winners are considered local favourites. 

While they’d each made courageous previous attempts to take home winning titles, 2019 was the year they finally stepped out as champions.  Not only was it a significant year for the first-time champions, but also for Tatts.

It was the 20th year Tatts has been the proud naming rights sponsor of the event and this year, to show support and see the impact of the sponsorship, Tatts representatives Hans de Koning and Ally Ramsamy attended the race.

Since Tatts first became naming rights sponsor, the event has accelerated considerably. In 2000, Tatts’ first year as naming rights sponsor and Finke’s 25th year, there were 305 bike and 105 car competitors, 200 volunteers and approximately 8,000 spectators.

This year the event was turbo-charged, with 612 bike and 297 car competitors, 310 volunteers and approximately 23,000 spectators.  

The sponsorship has helped make the event the success it is today. It has contributed to not only a growth in the overall event, competitors, volunteers and spectators, but also the local economy.

The event drives more tourists to the area than any other throughout the year and is considered a busier time than Christmas.

We are excited to see how the race continues to evolve into the future and to help play a part in its success.