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What a race! Certainly a gruelling track!

Submitted by: 4WD Tracks
23 Jul 2010
Location: Finke Desert (0) Comments
Finke Desert Race
 
Geoff Pickering has returned to the Australian Off Road
Championship with a resounding victory in the 4x4 Production Class driving his V6 Mitsubishi Pajero on the gruelling Tattersalls Finke Desert Race, his ninth straight victory on the toughest desert race this country has to offer.
 
After a forced sabbatical last season with a back problem
that required surgery, the former Australian champion
was determined to return with vengeance having let the overall
to Clayton Chapman. “We only did two events in the
middle of last year and they were the really tough ones, The Finke Desert Race in Central Australia
and the Sunraysia 500 near Mildura, but the back pain was
too much so I decided to take a once and for all. It was hard to sit
out the series and let some one else take the title we held for so
many years but that’s life. This year we’re back and determined
to return the silverware to the Pickering Race Team stable,”
Pickering says.
 
His return coincided with the debut of new navigator, Dylan Watson, son of former navigator Glenn Watson with whom he secured seven of his eight Australian Off
Road Championship titles. “Having Dylan alongside must
have been good luck and it’s a wonderful way for the young fella
to start his off road racing career race in the series,” Pickering says.
 
The Finke is like no other motorsport event this country has
to offer. A 226km blast down what was the old Ghan railway line to an aboriginal community on the northern tip of the Simpson
Desert, then turn around at sunrise the following day and do
it all again back to the Red Centre.
 
“We’ve been coming to Alice Springs for the Tattersall’s
Finke Desert Race ever since it was included as a round of the
Australian Off Road Championship nine years ago and we’ve won our class every time,” Pickering team manager Bernard Grant says. “Eight of our previous victories on The Finke had been in our original MN Pajero which was later upgraded to the NP model but this year we decided to debut an all new Mitsubishi Pajero with the larger 3.8 litre V6 petrol engine and it’s proven to be a winner
straight out of the box.”
 
Grant says the team did some testing near Alice Springs in the lead up to the event to fine tune the suspension settings. "But otherwise we just filled it with fuel, checked the tyre pressures, strapped in Geoff and Dylan, turned the key and sent them on their way to Finke.”
 
“We’ve had years to perfect our race plan for this event. Geoff
knows where to push and when to back off. It’s not just a race but a real endurance event for both car and crew.” It’s no easy feat to conquer The Finke and horror stories abound of the massive whoops that consume cars, tyre shredding rocks and
bottomless bull dust. Pickering and Watson claimed the
4x4 production class victory once again for Mitsubishi and now they turn their attention to the longest
event in the Australian Off Road Championship, the non stop,
Wales later this month.
 
Story with thanks to the Townsville Bulletin.

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