Rentschs on target for Finke Desert Race glory

WARRNAMBOOL off-road racers Shannon and Ian Rentsch are hoping to go one better in this weekend’s Finke Desert Race. 

Australian off-road champions Ian and Shannon Rentsch take on the Finke Desert Race this weekend. Picture: Geoff Rounds

Australian off-road champions Ian and Shannon Rentsch take on the Finke Desert Race this weekend. Picture: Geoff Rounds

The father and son duo finished second in last year’s event and are aiming for the top of the podium this time around. The iconic race starts in Alice Springs tomorrow and runs until Monday. 

The race is known as one of the most difficult in the world, pitting off-road cars and motorbikes against each other in the 226-kilometre trek from Alice Springs to Finke and back. 

The Rentschs are the reigning Australian off-road champions and head in to this weekend second on the overall standings. 

Shannon said they were hopeful of a solid performance on the back of a second placing at the season-opening race in Kalgoorlie. 

He said the Finke Desert Race was unique for two reasons. 

“It’s one of the only point-to-point races, so that’s something a little bit different and it’s the only one where we race against bikes as well,” he said from Alice Springs yesterday. 

“It’s a very challenging track. It can get fairly rough with 600 vehicles travelling over it and it doesn’t get any maintenance through the year. It can get pretty chopped up. 

“It’s very hard on the car and on the body.” 

This is the 12th year the duo has competed in the race. They notched up wins in 2005 and 2006, but mechanical issues have prevented them from reaching the top of the podium since. 

“It’s a tough race to complete, let alone win,” Shannon said. 

“Everything has to be 100 per cent (with the car) and you have to have a bit of luck on your side as well.

“The car has been really reliable over the past 12 months and dad and I are feeling good, so hopefully we can go one better.

“Qualifying on Saturday will be important..” 

Pirron Yallock’s Brett Clissold, Irrewillipe’s John Ladhams, Portland’s Peter Mayer, Princetown’s Murray Miskins and Koroit’s Andrew Whittington will also compete this weekend in the bike and quad categories. 

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