The Westvolt Off-Road Race Team have returned from a successful inaugural entry in the Tatts Finke Desert Race, an off-road, multi-terrain race for bikes, cars, buggies and quads. The race is run over two days through desert country from Alice Springs to the small community of Finke in the Northern Territory.
Over 7000 spectators descended on the outback community, with favourable weather and record-breaking competitor achievements being the highlight of the race.
The Westvolt team, consisting of Bullsbrook resident Chris Unstead as driver and navigator Nick Scalaro, efficaciously navigated the fine line between skilful driving and avoiding major mechanical issues for a top-fifty finish in their Can Am Maverick X3 RS Rotax 900cc buggy.
“Finke is a tough game, quite hard on the cars. We had suspension failure about 80 kilometres out of the finish line. It was still working, but was extremely rough, so I couldn’t pick up much speed,” explained Chris, “Out of the 151 competitors we finished 42nd overall, and 21st in our class. For our first attempt we were very happy with that.”
Chris’s motorsport career began at the age of 8, with him quickly becoming skilled at racing both super bikes and go-karts to championship level. The Westvolt team have placed well in other prestige races across the state over the years, however the hope of competing at Finke in 2018 was fading due to financial constraints. Then a ray of light appeared in the form of sponsorship from several local businesses. Kevin Bailey from Bullsbrook Water Carriers, Andrew Bonomi from Statewide Steel, Craig and Roz from the Mean Bean Diner and Kevin and Wendy Dimsdale of Fleet Integrations provided a not-to-be missed opportunity to get the team and the buggy to Alice Springs to compete in one of the most difficult off-road courses, in one of the most remote places in the world.
“I would like to say a special thanks to everyone for their support over the last year. Without those businesses previously mentioned, as well as CageTec Racing, Can-Am, Evolution Powersports, KWI Clutching, and Savage Motorcycles, I would not be able to follow my passion,” said Chris.
The Westvolt Off Road Race Team is currently sitting in second place for the WA Off-Road Racing Championships and will be aiming to progress to first place during the remaining three events of the year.
The Northern Valleys is host to two upcoming rounds of the 2018 WA Off-Road Championships. Round 4, the Mid-West Challenge is being held in Badgingarra over the 18 and 19 August and Round 5 on 29-30 September is the Three Springs 360. You can find out more about these events at www.waorc.com.
If you would like to more about off-road racing or are interested in sponsorship, you can check out Westvolt Off-Road Racing’s Facebook page @TeamWestvoltRacing.