The Australasian Safari, which gets underway in Western Australia on August 23, is set to see competitor numbers surge with the announcement that it will accept quad bikes in the 2008 event.

In 2007, its first year in Western Australia, the Safari attracted 102 competitors in cars or on motorbikes, but organisers believe that 20 to 30 quad bikes will enter this year, creating a field of around 140 competitors in the recently renamed event.

Western Australia has the largest sales in the country of All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) and quad bikes, and event director, Justin Hunt, is confident that many of those who will take up the challenge will be locals.

“Quad bikes have already established a great place in the Australian motorsport scene, and are already involved in events like the Gascoyne Dash in WA, and the Finke Desert Race in the Northern Territory,” Hunt said.

“It only seems logical that we grant them access to enjoy the Safari, which is rightly considered this country’s ultimate off-road adventure.

“Quad bikes are the fastest growing sector in the recreational bike market and we want to embrace them and create a separate category for them to compete.”

Quad bikes will have two classes of competition, one for those under 500cc and one for those over 500cc.

“The manufacturers we have spoken to so far are very excited about this move.

“Further, we have put a lot of changes in place for 2008 to make the event more accessible to competitors and less of a logistical challenge.

“We want to keep the event growing, increasing its local and international profile, and we think the quad bikes will add enormously to the media appeal as they provide great action-packed competition,” he added.

“The combination of cars, bikes and now quad bikes, all competing in the spectacular Western Australian outback, should create plenty of exciting vision for the TV cameras and photographers to capture and distribute around the world.”

Australasian Safari gets underway in Kalgoorlie on August 23, before heading north to Meekatharra and Mt Magnet. The event will then travel east onto Geraldton, before heading south and finishing in Perth on August 30.

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