Eighty competitors have converged on the Western Australian gold mining city of Kalgoorlie for the Australasian Safari, which begins on Sunday morning.

While the Safari is regarded as the roughest and toughest event on the Australian motorsport calendar, the weather at least looks set to be kind to the competitors.

The Kalgoorlie-Bouler Meteorological Office says the weather forecast for day one of the Safari looks good, with a temperature range of five to 19 degrees Celsius.

“It’s been very dry leading up to the event,” Al Morgan, Officer in Charge of the Bureau said today.

“We’ve had some cloudy days and cold nights, but crews in the event should enjoy pleasant conditions.”

The Australasian Safari has again attracted a quality field, used to surviving anything Mother Nature throws at them.

The focus on day of competition on Sunday will be how the 2007 winners, John Hederics (Auto Division) and Ben Grabham (Moto Division) progress.

Locals in Kalgoorlie have given AFL legend, Tony Lockett, a big welcome, who will make his Safari debut on a factory-supported Honda.

Held over seven days and covering a total distance of over 4400km, the Safari travels as far north as Sandstone and Meekatharra, before turning south west through Mt Magnet and Geraldton, and finishing in Perth on Saturday, August 30.

A Safari show and ceremonial start will be held in Hannon Street, Kalgoorlie, between 2pm and 5pm on Saturday, before the competitive stages get under way at 6am on Saturday morning.

Day one sees the field of leave Kalgoorlie on a loop of stages totalling nearly 300km, before they return to the city for the overnight halt.

According to event director, Justin Hunt, the increased distance in this year’s Safari is just what the competitors have asked for.

“Last year’s event was a lot shorter than this year’s in terms competitive kilometres, so we’ve increased that to over 2670km, which is a real challenge,” Hunt said.

“This year’s route is unbelievably rough and tough, and will be an incredible test for the competitors and their vehicles. Those who get to the finish will have really achieved something.”
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