Locals to tackle Desert Race
GYMPIE will have a presence at Australia’s greatest desert race over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend next month.
Local contenders Peter Baulch, Darren Sorensen and Matt Vickery have all put their hands up to tackle the 2010 Tattersall’s Finke Desert Race.
The off-road race, the largest in the southern hemisphere, has grown immensely in popularity in recent years and is limited to 500 competitors.
Held over 460 kilometres from Alice Springs to the small Aputula (Finke) community, the multi-terrain race crosses the ancient Finke River and requires two days to complete.
Baulch has been there before twice and knows precisely what to expect.
Last year, he completed the challenge with his son Cameron and finished midfield in the veterans age group and almost midfield overall.
Cameron has since taken up kickboxing, but Peter is determined to return, this time roping in workmates.
“Darren and Matt heard about the race and decided they wanted in,” Peter said.
“Matt wanted to do it last year but it didn’t happen, so he is keen this year to go.”
Peter’s partner Michelle Green shares the interest in the race but has issued a challenge this year.
“Michelle says she will only let me race next year if I finish top 250 overall,” Peter laughed.
The Gympie trio has been in heavy training leading up to the event and Peter said he was looking forward to seeing whose preparation would work best.
“Matt has really hit up the weight training whereas I’ve focused more on cardio and fitness,” Peter said. “It should be interesting to see which preparation works the best.”
While the race is a lot of fun and adventure, Peter knows all too well the risks that are involved – particularly after a Dalby man was killed two years ago after colliding with a tree.
“I remember riding past him when he was lying on the ground being treated by paramedics,” he said.
“There are risks but we know that and do what we can do to minimise them.”
While some of the racing professionals tackle the race like their lives depend on it, Peter is keen to do well and have fun in the process, explaining his moniker, Cranky Cats Racing, was named after his temperamental cat.