“You dirty, stinking fink” was a line made famous by Mickey Rooney in the 1962 movie ‘Requiem for a Heavyweight’, but it also best sums up the New Mazda BT-50's next adventure - as an entrant in the world-famous Finke desert race.
Held over the Queen’s Birthday weekend, the outback two-stage event starts in Alice Springs and makes its way out to the remote aboriginal township of Finke, and back, on a specially designed route some 225 kilometres south of the red centre.
In what will become a major two-part feature article in Wheels magazine - yes the publication that awarded All-New Mazda MX-5 its third Car of the Year title - respected motoring journalist Toby Hagon will steer the rugged Utility on one of its toughest missions yet.
Prepared by highly regarded professional V8 Supercars and engineering identity Alan Heaphy, the BT-50 will run in standard showroom trim, with the addition of a protective roll cage and some minor suspension changes which are designed to better absorb the bumps during this seriously undulating off-road race.
Competing in the Production class, the event starts with an 8km prologue on Saturday June 11, followed by the opening 226km leg the day after.
Camping overnight in Finke, the second and final stage, returning to Alice, kicks off early on the Queen’s Birthday Monday.
Entered to highlight the off-road strengths and superior ride comfort of the Mazda BT-50, and against 129 cars and 422 bikes, the Finke desert race is one of the toughest events in the world.
“Competitors have to finish the 226km course in four hours,” said Toby Hagon.
“That means an average speed of 56.5km/h, which many outback travellers will tell you is difficult enough on a good road – seemingly impossible on the punishing Finke course.
“While a win in the production car category would be a dream result, that’s not the goal.
“The aim is to finish – in the process (hopefully) proving that a factory Ute designed for more genteel duties can also kick its heels up and maintain a decent pace in what is shaping up as a hell of a challenge.”
I’m sure Rooney’s famous line will be top of mind as Hagon pushes his Mazda BT-50 to its outer limits through dirt, dust, inclines and dips, as he tries to avoid stray wildlife and keep clear of the hundreds of other competitors racing against the clock in this outback classic.
For all of the latest Finke news, go to www.finkedesertrace.com.au