The Finke, that grand fest of competitiveness, local can-do, fun and mateship is over again for a year, a boost not only to the town's self-esteem – at times short in supply – but also its coffers.
VIDEO: Hayden Bentley from South Australia limped home with a sick engine but still became the outright winner of the cars and buggy section of the 2013 Tatts Finke Desert Race.
The solo driver's time over the 226 km day two section was 01:52:49, a minute and 10 seconds ahead of Victorians Shannon and Ian Rentsch.
Mark Burrows and Colin Hodge, from NSW, were in third place in 01:56:27.
The first locals across the line were Andrew Moles and Matthew Ryan, in 9th place, coming second in the Prolite class in 02:00:48. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
Half the Alice Springs population, some 13,000 people, will be watching tomorrow when 440 bikes and 99 cars set off on their first leg in Australia's biggest and toughest off-road race, the Tatts Finke Desert Race.
Some spectators will be at the start line, but most will be camped along the track in what's the town's biggest social event, sleeping in swags, tents and caravans, cooking on camp fires and downing the odd beer and rum.
It's the 38th annual Finke, founded by locals, and despite its now national and international profile, entirely run by local volunteers.
What's more, some of the racing machines are built or modified by local professional and amateur mechanics.
Many competitors come from right across the diverse population of The Centre.
Today's prologue (pictured) determined tomorrow's starting positions.
The fastest competitor, likely to be driving a buggy, will do the 226 kilometers from Alice Springs south to the tiny Aboriginal community of Finke in less than two hours.
The second leg – back to Alice – will be on the holiday Monday.
If you can't be there, follow the race online.
NT Minister Chris Burns, who will not be contesting the NT election in August, is spending a great deal of time hounding MacDonnell MLA Alison Anderson.
Last week he tabled in Parliament an undated hand-written memo on Papunya Community Council Inc letterhead, advising its accountant, Peter Vroom, that a "Toyota Landcruiser Reg No 4528 254 was exchanged for three cars from A Anderson and S Hanley. This was agreed to at a council meeting 28-6-94. The three cars were donated to Dickie Brown, Sammy Butcher and Tobias Raggett."
The note is signed by Ms Anderson and the reported recipient of one of the cars, Mr Butcher.
What Dr Burns is seeking to make of this event 18 years ago is this: Ms Anderson was lying when she claimed earlier that she had "never benefited from any transactions at Papunya involving motor vehicles" as Dr Burns quoted her, because she had asserted never to have owned the three cars in question. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. IMAGE: The memo.