News 27 Sep 2011

Smiths retain Australasian Safari lead, Grabham ruled out of Leg 3

Yesterday’s leg of the Australasian Safari from Sandstone to Laverton threw everything at competitors.

Over 560 competitive kilometres, the 48 motos left in the competition faced many twists and turns, incredibly challenging navigation across rocky breakaways, overgrown fence lines, twisted tracks, stone roads, flood plains, and tricky navigation around bores, tanks, and windmills.

The second section for Leg 3 was described by the route coordinator as so challenging it could be a complete Safari on its own. This mixed bag of terrain was the longest section of the competition, covering 317.94km before arriving in Laverton.

Todd Smith retained his lead, ahead of brother Jacob Smith by 10 minutes, and followed by Shane Diener who moved up one place after 2010 champion Ben Grabham “blew something in between the stages”. He did not ride the second stage.

Damien Grabham, Ben’s brother, won the first stage today, but had less luck on the second stage.

“The map reader stopped working, I looked down to see what was wrong with it and hit something and went straight over the handle bars,” Damien said.

“I saw Cyril coming the wrong way, he was lost and we rode for 20 minutes together. I’m not happy and I’m really sore.”

It was a rough day for Matt Fish as well. He moved from fifth position yesterday to receiving a one-hour penalty today.

“I’m alive but that’s about it. About 50km before refuel it all went pear-shaped. The rear mousse (tyre) blew and I rode into refuel on the rim. I took a new tyre at refuel and have been penalised two hours,” Fish said.

Young UK rider Sam Sunderland was back on the bike after a day recouperating yesterday under medical orders.

“I felt alright today and my riding a lot better than the last few days. I made a few navigational errors and I’ve realised that I’ve been pushing it too hard and need to focus more on reading the road book,” Sunderland said.

“I had a small crash today, nothing major, and luckily no kangaroos.”