New spectator rules at Finke outback race

Tim DorninAAP
New spectator safety rules have been introduced for the NT's iconic Finke Desert Race.
Camera IconNew spectator safety rules have been introduced for the NT's iconic Finke Desert Race. Credit: AAP

Organisers of the Northern Territory's Finke Desert Race have introduced new safety measures after last year's death of a spectator who was hit by a car.

Canberra man Nigel Harris, 60, was fatally struck by the vehicle when it veered off a dirt track about 35km from the finish line near Alice Springs.

His death will be investigated by the NT coroner in August.

On Thursday, organisers said this year's event would feature spectator safety marshals.

"The marshals will play an important role in protecting both spectators and competitors by ensuring adherence to the recommended spectating distance and providing safety information to the public," they said in a statement.

"The spectator marshals will be located trackside at high-density spectator areas and will be responsible for reporting competitor accidents and serious spectator incidents."

The introduction of the marshals follows the announcement of new spectator safety rules, including a requirement for fans to stand at least 20 metres back from the race track in any areas where there is no fencing.

Campsites, vehicles or temporary structures have also been banned within 30 metres of the track.

The Finke Desert Race is an off-road multi-terrain two-day event for motorbikes, cars, buggies and quad bikes through desert country from Alice Springs to the Aputula or Finke community.

Held annually on the Queen's Birthday long weekend in June, it is one of the biggest sporting events in the NT and is expected to attract more than 10,000 fans this year.

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