Australasian Safari 2011 – Day One
– Overall Standings after day one
1st Todd Smith (Honda)
2nd Jacob Smith (Honda)
3rd Rod Faggotter (Yamaha)
4th Ben Grabham (KTM)
5th Matt Fish (KTM)
6th Cyril Despres (KTM)
7th Shane Diener (Yamaha)
8th Damien Grabham (Husberg)
9th David Schwarz (Husaberg)
10th Garry Connell (Husaberg)
– GHR Honda Report
The Smith brothers have opened the 2011 Australian Safari with a solid 1-2 placing ahead of Rod Faggotter in third overall for the day.
The Condobolin brothers arrived in very good time for a relaxed fuel stop at Mullewa just after 7.30 this morning, and were the first two to appear at the service in Yalgoo following 183.45 competitive kilometres in SS1. Both riders took the stage relatively gently and later recounted a stage that was overgrown for most of the way with numerous washouts to test the reflexes and make navigation challenging. At about the 60km mark Ben Grabham surged forwards and passed Jacob who had started just ahead, but dropped back after crashing in a heavily overgrown section of the course.
At service, Jake’s bike was fitted with a new rear wheel, but otherwise the #2 and #6 Honda CRF450X machines were running superbly. All other GHR Honda riders arrived in due course. WA local Charlie Ball stopped to render assistance to a fallen quad rider he found unconscious but moved on a few minutes later when the rider came to. South African Glen Grundy was hit from behind by KTM690 mounted American Seth Strait, but both riders were able to continue. David Geeves crashed heavily, but regrouped and continued the race.
Todd and Jacob Smith moved the pace up a notch with SS2 and finished the day in first and second place, securing first and second overall ahead of Rod Faggotter, Ben Grabham and Dakar Rally race winner Cyril Despres from France. On a day that Jacob described as being very difficult to lead, Todd’s advantage of just over 3 minutes is a great start to the 2011 event.
Tomorrow’s stages to Sandstone comprise just over 320km of competitive riding and a short transport of roughly 70km. At the time of writing the bikes are being serviced and the riders are marking up their roadbooks.
– Yamaha Report
The Yamaha duo of Rod Faggotter and Shane Diener have made a superb start at the opening day of the 2011 Australian Safari after day one of competition wrapped up late this afternoon in the rugged WA outback.
Competitors ran through two stages totaling more than 350kilometres and just over four hours on the bike with Faggotter piloting his Yamaha WR450F to third position in a typically strong performance from the big Queenslander.
Faggotter hit the trail in red hot form this morning and led the motorcycle division after the first stage as he simply tore up the Western Australian countryside from Geraldton to Old Coach Station. Stage two saw him drop back a couple of spots when he got lost misreading the navigation sheets but now sits officially third on the road and is well placed after the opening day in what is shaping to be a long and tough event.
“Just like yesterday, I took things pretty calmly and just tried to ride with a good flow and not take any risks. To win the opening stage was a bit of a shock as I wasn’t really pushing that hard and like most of the riders just trying to settle into the race as we have a long way to go,” Faggotter said.
Team-mate Shane Diener is also well placed, sitting securely inside the top 10 in seventh place. Diener logged in at the first check point in sixth place and followed with a seventh place in the afternoon stage to also be well placed and with no major incidents or dramas along the way.
“I had no real problems today other than a couple of opening day mistakes. The bike is in great shape and that is half the battle in an event like this, so my goal is to keep consistent, look after the bike and be in it right at the end,” Diener comments.
Day two will take the competitors from on a 330kilometre trip from Mount Magnet to Sandstone and riders again expect to be on the bike for another four to five hours. With both Yamaha WR450F’s running nicely, both riders will be looking to continue on from the good start made on day one.