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Finke @ The Coalface

The Tatts Finke Desert Race is iconic. It’s Australia’s toughest off-road motorsport event for cars, buggies, trophy trucks, SXS and bikes out of Alice Springs.

It’s not just for professionals like Singleton’s Toby Price either, hundreds of bike riders make the trek to the heart of Australia to experience the Finke Desert Race.

Toby Morgan works for Cutting Edge Resources on Emeco machinery at Whitehaven’s Maules Creek mine and in his spare time has just finished his second Finke race.

“I first got on a bike when I was 8 years old, I grew up on a dairy farm, so I was only ever on a bike on the farm chasing cows.

“I had a couple of bikes when I left home but I was never really that serious about it.

“It wasn’t until a mate’s dad did the Finke race years ago and ever since then it has been on the bucket list. So eventually we got our arses into gear and did it.”

Toby and three of his mates first did Finke in 2022.

“I didn’t have the best start; I had a crash before the race even started so I was a bit sore going into it.

“The race was full on, there were over 500 bikes which was hectic.

“I finished, but I definitely wanted to have another crack.”

It took Toby almost three hours on the dot to get back to the start the first year after taking 3:08:29 to get to Finke on day one.

This year Toby was confident he would have a better run, but it wasn’t to be.

Finke @ The Coalface

“I’m really bad for going hard too early so I started at a better pace and thought if I can get a jump on the riders I’m starting with at least I’ll get a little bit ahead. I sat back and let all the dust settle and slowly picked up my pace working my way through the pack.

“That plan was going well until the third fuel stop, about 60-kilometres outside of Finke, which is where I think I picked up some bad fuel.

“Initially I thought it was a spark plug so I put my spare one in that night and went for a bit of a run, but it wasn’t quite enough to get that fuel flow that was making it play up, though it felt better than it did.

“I got a good start the second day but within 5-kilometres it was already playing up. The bike all but stopped 35-kilometres in so I pulled up and pulled the bike apart and put it back together.

“I was maxxing out at 110km/hr until about 150-kilometres in around Deep Well and then I was stopping and starting the whole return trip.

“I was starting to get a good rhythm and I was still feeling good and then that happened.

“I finished, but it doesn’t feel like I finished it.”

The bike trouble meant it took Toby an extra half-an-hour to get back to the start crossing the line in 3:34:07 on day two after taking just over three hours to get to Finke the day before.

Despite the bike trouble it was still an adventure. This year Toby did the race with his brother Christopher who Toby admits is faster than him on two wheels.

“This time my brother came and one of the mates who did it previously as he crashed out last time, so he wanted another crack at it. My brother didn’t have any dramas this year – he’s always been faster, so he wanted to do really well.”

He finished in 190th position with an overall time of 6:06:25.

Toby said he’s sure to laugh about his Finke 2024 troubles one day, but for now he’s determined to get back to Alice Springs next year and have a good, clean run.

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