Australasian Safari 2011 – Day Five
Overall Standings – After Day Six
1st Todd Smith – 25.18:43 (Honda)
2nd Jacob Smith – 25.36:26 (Honda)
3rd Rod Faggotter – 26.14:02 (Yamaha)
4th Damien Grabham – 27.10:53 (Husaberg)
5th Ben Williams – 27.56:04 (Honda)
6th Shane Diener – 28.00:08 (Yamaha)
7th David Schwarz – 28.16:59 (Husaberg)
8th Russell Scoble – 29.01:19 (Honda)
9th William Coole – 29.29:28 (Husaberg)
10th David Geeves – 29.30:43 (Honda)
– GHR Honda Report
As the sun sets on the penultimate leg of the 2011 Australasian Safari, GHR Honda riders Todd and Jacob Smith remain dominant in the event riding their CRF450X bikes developed in Mittagong, NSW.
Most of the other likely challengers have been beset by mechanical failure or injury, including Dakar Rally winner Cyril Despres who retired from the race this afternoon having sustained a lacerated foot. While Jacob Smith set the fastest time in the event prologue, it is his older brother who finished on top of the rankings for Leg 1 and has since maintained a sound lead through attentive navigation and judicious tactics.
Today’s leg consisted of two selective stages. SS12 Sturt Meadows I, a 236.42 km section which included a series of derelict roads and an optional splash and dash refuel. The 141.12km long SS13 Sturt Meadows II varied between roach station tracks and numerous fast flowing sections, finishing with a salt lake crossing.
Todd Smith: “This morning I rode just to get through SS12 but I was surprised – I wasn’t actually much slower. When I saw the gap I had I backed off even more. Tomorrow if nothing goes wrong with the bike I should be right. I’m still really enjoying myself but I do find it tricky to walk that fine line between being careful and being too slow without the pressure.”
Jacob Smith: “Today we were just in a holding pattern. It was about consolidation, looking after the bike and getting it to the end. By this stage, everything hurts and there’s absolutely no use in binning it on the last days in pursuit of a few more minutes.”
– Yamaha Report
Shane Diener made good on his promise yesterday to win as many of the remaining stages as possible in the 2011 Australian Safari by winning both stages of today’s competition at day six of the event.
Diener copped the maximum penalty yesterday when he was forced out of the afternoon stage with a technical glitch. But with his WR450F back up and firing, Diener was a man on a mission taking the stage one win by 26 seconds and then really poured on the speed in the afternoon stage to take the win by a whopping 5 minutes and 37 seconds.
Incredibly, even with the 4hour and 15minute penalty for yesterdays DNF, Diener has now charged his way back to sixth place overall, only four minutes back from fifth and still has the final four stages to go tomorrow.
“I have got nothing to lose so I’m just going to keep putting myself and my WR at the top of every stage until this race is over,” Diener says determinedly. “I was here to win this event and now that I can’t do that, then winning stages is the next best thing I can do.”
“Today went really well and the bike was back in great condition.”
“Tomorrow is the final day and it would be nice to get back inside the top five after what’s happened so far during the event.”
Rod Faggotter is right on target to lock down third place for the event after another consistent day. Faggotter was fifth fastest in the morning stage and seventh fastest in the afternoon, but with a big gap to the rider behind him in the overall standings and still nursing his hand injury, there is no need for Faggotter to ride on the ragged edge.
“The last three days have been a bit the same for me, just riding smart and looking after my hand to get to the finish. So far, we are on track and if tomorrow all goes according to plan then we should end up on the podium which is a reasonable result given the trouble I have come across.”
The final day of competition is a relatively easy affair with four stages and only 200km covered. The event wraps up at the Kalgoorlie golf course where competitors and teams can finally take a breather after racing for seven days and over 2500 kilometres.