Grafton racer takes on the red centre
MOTORSPORT: After conquering Australia's toughest off-road race in his maiden voyage last year, Grafton sawmill operator Allen Henson is headed back to the red centre to do it all again, this time, just a little bit differently.
Henson will tackle the Tatts Finke Desert Race - a punishing 460km trek across the Australian outback - over the June long weekend, but this time he will be in a buggy.
Henson made his first start at the event last year, and despite the high attrition rate of the annual race, he completed the journey on his Husqvarna FC 350 motorcycle
But after buying a can am maverick buggy at the start of the year, Henson is ready for a new challenge.
His wife Bree Henson is the workforce behind the Chops and Potts Racing team he has with friend Luke Shadbolt, and will be joining the pair at Alice Springs tomorrow.
"He competed for the first time last year. He came off about three times during the race but each time he got back up and kept going," Bree said.
"He was desperate to get the finisher's plaque last year, and now he has that, it is time for a new challenge."
With the help of local sponsors Cromack Transport and MI Organics, Henson has put plenty of work into the buggy to ready for the tough race.
The pair set up nicely for the Finke with a trial run at the St George 399, which was the opening event of the 2018 BF Goodrich CAMS Australian Off Road Championship.
With Shadwell in the driver's seat, and Henson on navigation, the pair finished third fastest in their class, and on the radar as one of the danger teams in the field of 300 for the Finke race.
"I know the guys are hoping for a good finish, I think top 10 in their class is definitely not a stretch," Bree said.
"They have been spruiked as the team to watch in their class, so I know they will be feeling the pressure."