Australasian Safari – Leg Two
After two stages the Australasian Safari rally is in full swing as Todd Smith and Rod Faggotter are neck and neck for the race lead.
It wasn’t just the course that had rocky patches, twists and turns on Leg Two of Australasian Safari, where competitors had a huge 667 kilometres in three competitive stages racing from Kalbarri to Gascoyne Junction in Western Australia.
There were only six seconds separating race leader Todd Smith and Leg 1 leader Rod Faggotter by the end of the day.
Smith said he was surprised at how fast Faggotter was riding. “I rode my ass off in the last stage today and only beat Rod by one second. We made adjustments to my bike overnight to cater for the softer sand which might have slowed me down a bit. There were lots of twists, turns and crests in the last stage. I’m feeling good for tomorrow.”
Faggotter said the day improved for him stage by stage. “There was lots of moisture this morning, making the sand heavy and testing out the bikes. Bikes and riders were working hard in the first stage. I enjoyed the last stage more. The bike’s going well, nothing’s broken and the mechanics will just do a routine check tonight.”
Matt Fish is sitting in third place. “I had a good day, but lost a bit of time from the leaders by making a navigation error in the second stage but only lost a couple of minutes. The bike’s going really well and I’m feeling good.”
Shane Diener is the fastest of the Dakar Challenge entries and currently in outright fourth position and said he didn’t push it too hard.
“I had a steady ride and took it easy. Psychologically I felt good when I rode past the place I crashed last year. The bike’s going real good.”
Rally champion Alister McRae held his seventh position. “I dropped a little time this morning – I stopped to help Warren Strange after he waved me down, and towed him the last 10km of the first stage. I didn’t really enjoy the first stage, it was hard work and hard on the bike, but the last stage was really good.”
He said his navigating was getting better day-by-day. “Riding is more mentally and physically exhausting than driving in a rally.”
Australasian Safari (leg two)
1. Todd Smith 05:00:05; 2. Rodney Faggotter 05:00:11; 3. Matt Fish 05:05:58; 4. Shane Diener 05:12:05; 5. Lee Stephens 05:16:02; 6. Vernon Strange 05:19:21; 7. Russell Scoble 05:25:50; 8. Alister McRae 05:29:46; 9. Ivan Erceg 05:31:08; 10. Warren Strange 05:31:11…