Six campers hurt in explosion at major desert race

An unexpected explosion of a shock absorber has injured six people at Australia's toughest off-road race.

Six Victorians, aged between 18 and 23, were injured during a "serious campfire mishap" on Saturday at the Finke Desert Race, 70km from Alice Springs.

Five of those men were flown interstate for treatment, two to the Royal Prince Alfred in Sydney and three to the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Their conditions are unknown.

NT Police said the incident was under investigation but several witnesses indicated the incident was a result of an unexpected explosion of a shock absorber.

Finke Desert Race organisers said St Johns Ambulance medical teams stationed at checkpoints along the race helped the injured campers.

“Campers have always been advised to take extreme care and monitor all fires along the track," organisers said in a statement.

“Finke Desert Race organisers have overall been pleased with spectator behaviour and are looking forward to welcoming the top riders and drivers back to the Alice Springs finish line today (Monday)."

The Finke Desert Race is an off-road, multi terrain two-day race through desert country from Alice Springs to the small Aputula (Finke) Community.

The race crosses the Finke River, believed to be the oldest river in the world and is held each year on the King’s Birthday long weekend.

It is estimated more than 12,000 people camp beside the racetrack each year during the event.

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