How Finke Desert Race Was Born

Queen’s birthday?

Ever wondered why Australia celebrates the British Queens’ birthday? In June Australians get a day off to celebrate the birthday of Queen Elizabeth II of England. Even more interesting is the fact that the Queen was actually born in April.

This is a tradition that started way before Queen Elizabeth was crowned Queen. Her father King George VI announced his birthday will be celebrated in June even though he was born in December because this new date did not clash with Christmas and summer is in June in the UK. Thanks to this new change people could add good weather to the celebrations.

When King George VI died Queen Elizabeth II suggested they keep the tradition and celebrate her birthday in June as well. Australia today with the exclusion of some parts, as a former British colony, celebrates this day as a mark of respect for the monarch. In addition, they decided to celebrate on Monday so that people could have a long weekend. This would become the basis on which the Finke Desert Race would be born.

There and Back

Finke Desert Race was started in 1976. It has been held every year since then on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend. The first race was titled “there and back” and it was organized by a group of local motorbike riders to race from Alice Springs Inland Dragway to the Finke River and return. The race went on successfully and from then on it is held annually. The race is commonly known as one of the biggest annual sporting events in the Northern Territory. It has the reputation of being one of the most difficult off-road courses in one of the most remote places in the world.