Kelly keen to tackle Finke Desert Race

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 10/06/2019
  • By Stefan Bartholomaeus

Rick Kelly has declared a desire to compete in the 2020 Finke Desert Race, after a trip to this year’s event which included sampling a Pro Buggy.

Held each Queen’s Birthday long weekend, Finke is Australia’s premiere off-road event; competitors tackling the 460km round trip from Alice Springs to Finke over two days.

The field, which in 2019 featured 591 competitors including two-time Dakar Rally winner Toby Price, consists of a mix of two and four-wheel machinery.

Kelly, the 2006 Supercars champion and two-time Bathurst 1000 winner, visited the event with his family, and is eager to return as a competitor.

“It’s something that has put itself well and truly on my to do list,” Kelly told Supercars.com.

“I’ve followed it for a lot of years but had actually never been and, as an event, it met all my expectations.

“There were people everywhere, a lot of excitement, and the action on track was next-level.

“I love racing, I love the bush and I love camping and this really combines everything.”

Kelly’s weekend included a blast in a Pro Buggy that owner Danny Brown eventually took to seventh outright.

Using a US-sourced Alumi Craft chassis, the buggy is powered by a 6.0 litre Chevrolet V8 driving through a sequential-shift gearbox.

“The buggy I drove was a lot of fun,” said Kelly.

"I haven’t got much experience in these types of vehicles, so it was something a bit different and out of my comfort zone.

“It handled pretty well and Danny ran seventh outright in it, so it was kind of him to let me use it the day before the event!”

While Kelly Racing is busy running four cars in Supercars and the TCR Australia Series this year, Kelly will scope out his options for Finke 2020.

“There’s a few different classes and a little bit of opportunity out there,” he said.

“It’s something now I’ve seen it, I’ll see what opportunities exist for the future, whether that’s in one of the Side-by-Side classes or a Pro Buggy.

“Finke is on the way to Darwin and the weekend before [the Supercars event], so it'd be great to do a road trip, check out some of the country, do Finke and head up to Darwin.

“In my mind that’d be the ideal way to spend a couple of weeks.”

Fellow Supercars driver Todd Hazelwood was also at the weekend’s event, supporting his father Russell, who had entered the bike category for a second consecutive year.

However, the 58-year-old failed to make it to the startline after breaking his collarbone and two ribs in a crash during practice.

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