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Sport'So many near-death experiences': Finke champ vows retirement after wild desert victory

04:55  11 june  2019
04:55  11 june  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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experiences ': Finke champ vows retirement after wild desert victory : Merkel vows to carry on despite 04:55 11 june 2019 Source: abc.net.au. Merkel vows to carry on despite coalition setback. One of the world's most dangerous desert tracks claims a victim, with five-time champion Toby Price

One of the world's most dangerous desert tracks claims a victim, with five-time champion Toby Price bowing out due to mechanical problems — paving the way for a hometown hero to take the gold.

'So many near-death experiences': Finke champ vows retirement after wild desert victory© ABC News Images Two Central Australians have claimed victory in the challenging Finke Desert Race.

Somewhere along the 226-kilometre Finke Desert Race track, things started to go awry for former champion Toby Price.

'So many near-death experiences': Finke champ vows retirement after wild desert victory
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But a mechanical failure for five-time Finke champ Price meant a windfall for journeyman Jack Rhodes, who took home the King of the Desert car title for 2019.

And the win on the challenging Central Australian outback track was a homecoming for Rhodes, who grew up in Alice Springs, as did winner of the bike category, David Walsh, who vowed he would retire on top after 12 years trying to land the top gong.

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"Today was nerve-wracking the whole way," said Rhodes, who was celebrating the win after his ninth or tenth attempt at the gruelling race.

"It's been a hard journey over the years, I just keep coming back and keep working away and chipping away and having so many people put so much work in ... and letting them down with small things and driver error.

"It's been a long journey, so to finally get it done, I think the crew will be pretty drunk tonight."

When Rhodes saw his main rival Price facing mechanical troubles on the side of the track, he said the first thing that went through his head was, "It's never over until it's over".

"A lot of the [challenges] were mental — just battling through it, keeping yourself calm, just trying to get through it," Rhodes said.

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' So many near - death experiences ': Finke champ vows retirement after wild desert victory . At one point there I [had] seen the crowd running back off I saw some filmclips that Michael Denham (Trans Vent/Mickelfab TT) put up on facebook from the run down to Finke , of the top six or so Trucks running

One of the world's most dangerous desert tracks claims a victim, with five-time champion Toby Price bowing out McCartney, who led the team to a three-point victory , announced retirement that same day. How the new '90210' series plans to honor Luke ' So many near - death experiences ': Finke

"I think that's why they call it the toughest desert race there is."

Walsh survives 'brutal' track to take win

'So many near-death experiences': Finke champ vows retirement after wild desert victory© ABC News Images Newly crowned Finke King of the Desert, David Walsh, hugs his wife after the victory.

After three times in second place, fellow Alice Springs local Walsh fought for survival to become the fastest across the finish line on his bike.

"[Sunday] was the hardest thing I've ever done, that track was just brutal, I don't know how I got there in one piece," said Walsh.

"I had so many near-death experiences but somehow pulled it off."

"You're hanging on for dear life — it's not fun, it's pretty scary.

"At one point there I [had] seen the crowd running back off the track and I knew that I was looking ugly. But it's all good, we're here."

'My wife will kill me if I don't retire'

Walsh fought back tears as he thanked his family for supporting his long, dusty journey to become the new champ.

"Finally got it — 12 years I've been trying to finally get it — it just feels good, it's just a dream come true, it really is," he said.

Walsh said his wife would "kill me" if he didn't retire after his latest victory.

"I don't think so," Walsh responded after being asked if he would return to defend his title next year.

"I think my wife will kill me if I don't [retire] ... I've been saying that for five [years], but anyway."

Unfortunately for other racers, the dry and dusty conditions proved too hazardous, with 17 people needing first-aid treatment at the event.

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