Gympie desert racer proud to follow in Dad's footsteps
MOTORBIKES: The 2019 Tatts Finke Desert Race will be the fourth time Gympie region rider Jordan Atkinson competes in Australia's most gruelling off-road race.
Almost 650 competitors will race across 226km from Alice Springs to the small desert and Aboriginal community of Aputula next month.
Atkinson is one of the top 25 riders at this year's event - finishing 22nd overall last year - and his goal is to beat his position.
"This year I am aiming for a top 10 outright finish,” he said. "I want a podium in class because there are different classes for bike sizes.”
It was his father who motivated him to start racing and compete in the desert race.
"Dad had raced and has done Finke and I just wanted to follow in his footsteps,” he said.
"There is nothing else like it, it is completely different to normal racing in the bush. It is faster, it is a bit faster and a bit addictive.”
The race will be held in June but Atkinson started his training months ago.
"I started training at the start of the year and we try our best to get to a stage where we can't do much more,” he said. "You just have to go out there and race. I have been doing a lot of training, just riding, gym work and running.”
The rough terrain of the desert and the adrenaline rush is what keeps Atkinson coming back.
"Just being out there in the desert going 170km/h on the bike,” he said.
"When the race is not on it is dead quiet out there and we go on the track and camp and there is nothing else around, it is quiet peaceful. It is nice and quiet, because there are no lights or anything around, you see all the stars.”
The desert can be rough for those not familiar but Atkinson said you have to be prepared.
The race will start on Friday, June 7 and finish on Monday, June 10.