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The Alice Springs Off Road Racing Club Inc. commenced in 1984 when Jol Fleming (the then President) and a few ex bike riders helped to organise Off Road Racing in Alice Springs. Jol knew of an area on the east boundary of Orange Creek Station, where the land was too dry for cattle and the water too deep to be viable, that would be perfect for Off Road Racing. Thanks to Terry and Marilyn Karger (owners of Orange Creek Station) the race track is now known as the Mt Ooraminna Race Track.

The track is approximately 40 Kms down the Old South Road, Alice Springs, just south of the Ewaninga Rock Carvings. The track is dry and dusty and is usually a very hot spot but still a lot of fun, if off road racing is your sport.

The first cars to be raced were mainly Datsun 1000’s, 1200’s and 1600’s cars and utes together with Volkswagon beetle and a couple of Toyota Landcruiser utes (tin tops). The guys would just jump in their vehicles and off they’d go. There were lots of thrills and spills. It was a real adrenalin pusher for most. These vehicles were just normal registered street cars, would have been in a price range from $200 up to no more than $1,500, which in those days was classed as expensive to some, nonetheless it was great fun. No roll bars or safety nets etc etc. were used in those early days. Mark Rodda, Bryan Cartwright, Dennis Zaglas, Peter Burge, Doug Mansell, Larry Zaglas, John Fidler, Peter Lewis, Taffy Evans, Allan Hoare, Allan Paige and Greg Picken, together with Jol and Enid Zaglas were the main instigators to get this Club up and running. Alan Paige never raced but he had tremendous input and did a lot of manual labour, marking tracks, towing in broken down vehicles etc etc. Also at the Club’s inception a well known citizen of Alice Springs, Bob Baldock, had tremendous input into the Club by building vehicles for young boy scouts and introducing them to racing. It was a great way for the young lads of the community to learn to drive.

Race meetings were held once a month and as time went on it just got bigger and better. The Club became affiliated with CAMS (Confederation of Australian Motor Sport) in 1987 which was the best way to go because it made it a much safer sport as speeds were getting faster and faster and the vehicles were getting bigger and better and more competitive. By this time racing was becoming quite competitive with the ‘tin tops’ gradually starting to become less and the big machines (buggies and 4 wheel drive vehicles) sneaking in hence, interstate competitors coming to Alice to compete and the locals going interstate to compete.

The Outback Desert Racing Club Inc. in Alice Springs ran an annual Motorbike race (bikes only), in Alice Springs, and in 1988 they decided to introduce four wheeled vehicles to be part of their annual event, commonly known as the ‘Finke Desert Race’. This was a 458Km return trip race and the guys who started off the Off Road Racing Club thought this was great, because they were getting older and thought ‘oh yeah, it will be easier to drive a car in the race than going on two wheels’. This was a real ‘hoot’ for the Off Road Club Members. By this time vehicles had started to increase substantially in both numbers and cost. The first ‘Finke Desert Race’ for the cars had 12 entries (1 interstate competitor, Gary Nicolle) and all 12 crossed the finish line. This was the first time that all cars entered and completed an Off Road event in Australia. What a great effort for Alice Springs, eh! Just a little thing for the ladies, there was an all female crew entry, (first females to race cars in Finke) Enid Zaglas and Maxine Bartlett, who entered driving a 1972 Datsun 1200 coupe, and finished 10th outright. Having the four wheeled vehicles being able to compete in the Finke Desert Race created a lot more interest in the sport, was great for the town and also helped out the Outback Desert Racing Club.

By 1996 there were 100 financial members, 10 of whom were Life Members. The Alice Springs Off Road Race Club today is now a very strong Club with Alice Springs members competing in the Australian National Rounds of Off Road Racing. The Finke Desert Race is also now classed as a National Round. Congratulations to all those who have kept up with the sport and are now well known and are being recognized Australia wide. It is a real credit to the small town of Alice Springs.

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