Enormous crowds, unusually warm weather and record breaking competitor achievements have been the highlights of the annual Tatts Finke Desert Race for 43 years. It’s a motor cross event that brings together trail bike enthusiasts and professional racers. Named after the oldest river in the world, it’s the biggest annual sporting event in the Northern Territory that attracts over 600 competitors.
Narrated by Eric Bana, we’re brought into a magical world of Central Australian terrain providing the backdrop for the stories of this bike event that begins in Alice Springs. From the rivalry of corporate sponsors to the longstanding champions in this area that are household name, the logistical planning and execution that stretches hundreds of kilometres, we’re given insight into a community of Australia very rarely given the spotlight.
More than 15,000 people are scattered across the vast plain that makes up the 460km race track, the sense of community this event creates embodied by the core riders the film focuses on with warmth and inspiration.
For the riders, it’s is more than a race. Finke: There and Back delves below the surface to understand the motivations that drive these young men to put their lives on the line against the harshness of our beautiful yet dangerous red centre.
Paraplegic Isaac Elliott has a yearning and spark in his eyes when talking about the track that was also the place that destroyed his ability to walk. It was also a track shared with his father as he returns to complete the race he started ten years ago. Scruff Hamill, is a Sydney enthusiast achieving his long time dream of experiencing the Finke desert race.
The suspense is built throughout the film with the two main favorites, Luke Hayes and Daymon Stokie representing two competing motor brands. Also along the way we meet people in and around the race who made it and others who didn’t.
A thrilling watch that strikes at the heart showing a softer side of the Aussie personality, working through that vulnerability to achieve success in their own way.
Lismore: 10 December – 7pm, Starcourt Theatre
Brisbane: 12 December – 7pm, Schonell Theatre
Canberrra: 12 December – 7pm, NFSA
Perth: 16 December – 6.30pm, Luna Cinema
Melbourne: 17 December – 7pm, Astor Theatre (Q&A Screening)