Toby Price has won the 2021 Tatts Finke Desert Race, his first win in the car category, finishing only seconds ahead of BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship leader Josh Howells.
In what was an epic finish to Australia’s most prestigious off road race, Price’s Red Bull Trophy Truck came in to Alice Springs just 22 seconds ahead of Howells.
Howells was on a charge on Monday, while Price was forced to manage an overheating engine in his brand new truck.
While Howells’ return time to Finke was quicker overall than Price’s, the Red Bull ambassador's lead on Sunday gave him some buffer to defend the Howells charge and ultimately claim the ‘King of the Desert’ crown.
West Australian Beau Robinson crossed the line in third, just over four minutes behind Price.
The Red Bull ambassador was understandably elated to secure his first ever car win at the iconic event.
“It was a close one,” Price said.
“We’ve been working hard for that one… it’s a dream come true.”
A relieved Price said with Howells on his tail, he had to make a decision to push and hope the engine dramas remained at bay in the final 60km of the race.
“About 100km out, the engine water (temperature) just started fluctuating and having heaps of dramas, so we just tried to preserve it and look after the truck.
“Then Josh (Howells) got on the back of us, and I thought ‘it’s now or never’ and we were either going to cook the motor or get to the finish line. But we’re here.”
Howells, meanwhile, was also proud to have finished the gruelling event in second, alongside navigator Eric Hume.
“We gave it everything we’ve got… I’m stoked to be back on the podium,” Howells explained.
“Credit to my navigator Eric, every call he made was spot on. We don’t run on GPS, we’re just running on memory.
“We caught Toby and I thought there must have been some kind of issue for us to catch him in that section there, but then he put his foot back down and there was no catching him.”
Full class results and times will be available on www.aorc.com.au
The next round of the BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship, the Can-Am Loveday 400, takes place in South Australia on 23-25 July.