Mazda BT-50 defies all expectations For the first time ever, a showroom-spec Mazda BT-50 has competed in, finished and taken a step on the podium at the arduous Finke Desert Race.
Mazda BT-50 defies all expectations
For the first time ever, a showroom-spec Mazda BT-50 has competed in, finished and taken a step on the podium at the arduous Finke Desert Race.
After 452 competitive kilometres and nearly eight hours of punishing racing, respected Wheels journalist Toby Hagon and co-driver Bernie Webb drove their Mazda BT-50 to second place in their class, an astonishing result for a first-time driving pair.
Required to finish each stage within a certain time, Hagon and Webb qualified third in their class and finished Sunday’s opening leg in 3h 53min and 55 seconds. Exhausted - and having to be lifted out of the driver’s seat – Hagon backed up yesterday to complete the return stage in 4h 01min and 37 seconds.
Not only is Finke the largest and most gruelling desert race of its type in the world, the challenge is not so much to win it, but to compete and complete it.
To put this into perspective, the vast majority of the 550 entries had been heavily modified to cope with the toughest driving conditions imaginable. The Mazda BT-50, which was standard apart from a roll cage, race seat and some minor suspension upgrades, was one of only 64 cars to finish from 130 starters. In the bike competition, only 328 of the 420 saw the chequered flag.
Apart from some bumps and scrapes underneath the BT-50, it came home unscathed, proving that even in the harshest of conditions it can be counted on to perform.
“The Finke desert race is the hardest driving I’ve ever done, by miles,” said Toby Hagon.
“I can’t believe we made it!
“I’ve never punished a car that hard and kept going, the BT-50 was just incredible.”
Congratulations goes to not only Toby Hagon and Bernie Webb, but the team from PPE who prepared the Mazda BT-50 and kept in going.