LEONGATHA’S Steve Riley has won the Cross Country competition of the Classic Outback Trial in Alice Springs, conquering the all-terrain desert track race in his Holden VF Ute.
Alongside navigator John Doble, of Sydney, Steve faced a wide variety of fast roads, and rocky and sandy conditions with many crests and dips throughout the seven-day event.
The pair won the event by almost an hour after travelling 400 to 500km per day, with half transport and half competitive racing.
He was joined by wife Lisa and daughter Alkira, while Poowong’s Milton Hill, Yanakie’s Troy McAinch and Meeniyan’s Trevor Hanks were part of the support crew.
Steve’s mother and father in-law, Alan and Leonie Hanks, also helped out as caterers during the event.
Steve said he was thrilled to take the honours in his first Classic Outback Trial.
“This event is similar country to what I do a lot of other racing in so I thought I’d give it a go,” he said.
“I don’t do a lot of practice because we live in very wet environment and it’s a lot different to Alice Springs.
“It’s a lot of reading the terrain at speed, as you don’t know what’s around the corner.
“It’s all about knowing your soil types and knowing the margin in rocky areas.
“There was several stages each day stopping at station properties and national parks, and we won nearly every stage.
“Basically the roads and tracks in Alice Springs are a fantastic adventure and I learnt a lot about the area of Alice Springs and got to meet a lot of the property owners.
“As a farmer it was interesting to see how they work out there and I got to see a lot of properties.”
The crew was on the road back to South Gippsland on Monday, and Steve is yet to decide on his next event.