Mad Monday on Safari
- 25th September 2012, 7:43am
This tactic saw Safari stalwarts Geoff Olholm in the Mitsubishi Pajero and John Hederics in the Holden Colorado finish first and second fastest and Olholm’s Cairns Coconut Racing Team taking the overall auto lead by nearly four minutes.
Olholm said unlike some other auto teams they had a good fun day. “We started the second stage and got in front of Hedgie (John Hederics), we got lost for about 30 seconds and then he got in front of us and we were chasing each other for a while, it was good fun.
“The car is going great and we didn’t have any problems. We are not pushing too hard,” Olholm said.
Bruce Garland was not so lucky. He clipped a fence post, which did such significant damage to the Isuzu D-Max he had to withdraw from the competition.
“We had a bit of a team discussion about it, and decided we had to withdraw. It’s my 16th Safari and only the second time I’ve DNF’d so I really don’t like pulling out. Normally we’d try to fix it and keep going, but the sad fact is that Dakar has to be the priority. The car is due to be on a boat and heading overseas in 10 days’ time and we couldn’t risk a half-repair job and end up doing more damage.
“Obviously it’s disappointing, beyond disappointing. We love this event and we wanted a good result. We’re still helping the other D-MAX crews so we’re not just packing up our tents and disappearing, but we’ll work everything out tonight,” Garland said.
Other autos not completing the tough SS5, the second stage of the day, were Car 102 – Nunzio Coffaro in the Toyota Hilux, Kerry Turley in the Nissan Patrol and Des Harrington in the Nissan Patrol.
Jake Smith on a 2012 Honda CRF450X finished fastest in the motos for a second day in a row. He also took the cautious approach, putting him nearly 16 minutes ahead of nearest rivals Matt Fish on a 2012 KTM 500EXC and Rod Faggotter on the 2012 Yamaha WR450F.
“I had a good day, I was making sure I was looking after myself and the bike. Despite the long day I feel good and fresh,” Smith said.
The day wasn’t so smooth for others including Matthew Fish, who lost time in the first stage.
“I had a really rough day, I had a crash early in the first leg and lost a bit of time and am a bit sore but ready and raring to go tomorrow,” Fish said.
Yesterday’s second fastest rider Shane Diener is out with a knee injury and Warren Strange dropped a few places after stopping to help Diener after he crashed.
Brother Vern Strange continues to hold the lead in the Dakar Challenge with Michael Johnson and Brett Cummings in pursuit.
“I had a great day today it was like a dream, the bike is all good. I started today in seventh and finished in fourth so I’m looking forward to tomorrow because it’s similar country to the Gascoyne Dash which I’ve won four times,” Vern Strange said.
Fellow Dakar Challenge competitor Glenn Grundy enjoyed the day’s riding. “It was a lot of work for a Monday! There were a lot of interesting features, lots of gates, nice ocean views and long sandy drags.”
Leading the Quads is Paul Smith on a 2011 Honda TRX00XX with a 28-minute lead over Heath Young on a 2011 KTM. Young said he had a reasonably good day but struggled in the sand.
Tomorrow will see competitors tackling three stages and 410km of what is tipped to be the most spectacular stage of the event in one of Western Australia’s most extraordinary locations– taking competitors through a number of stations including coastal Quobba and Gnaraloo Stations and to the tip of the Ningaloo Reef where there will be river crossings, stunning beach runs, sand dunes and twisting station tracks.
The Australasian Safari, from 21 to 29 September 2012, is an eight-day endurance race that sees competitors travel mainly off-road tracks through the outback of Western Australia. The event is known as one of the toughest and most challenging motorsport events in the world. This year’s course will be approximately 3500km through the mid west of Western Australia.
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