Schmid finds new respect for hazardous race after spectator death

Campbell WilliamsonNarrogin Observer
Amira Schmid competing in Finke.
Camera IconAmira Schmid competing in Finke. Credit: Picture: Terry Hill

After a spectator death in this month’s Finke Desert Race, Narrogin’s Amira Schmid says she has newfound respect for the treacherous 460km stretch of racetrack at the heart of the Northern Territory.

“It was gruelling and it was painful and tested me in every way possible,” Amira said.

Finke has been running since 1976 as a “there-and-back” challenge with riders racing from Alice Springs to Finke River and back again.

At 16 years and two months, Schmid made history when she became the youngest quad-biker to compete in the race.

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Overcoming age and injury, she battled her way to the starting line in Alice Springs and was all set for the return leg when tragedy struck.

“We heard the news in the morning because it happened when the buggies were racing before us (quad) bikes had left,” she said.

“At first, they just pushed the race out and said we’d wait an hour or so to see what was happening with the crash because no one really knew.

“It turned out the accident was worse than they thought, and the police were doing an investigation and everything was blocked off, so they ended up cancelling the bike race on the way back.

“They said that everyone that had a trailer there could leave but all of our pit crew had left already to get home…so we had to ride home anyway.”

She said news of the death stuck with her during the event, but she would still have no hesitations in going again next year.

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