News 30 Sep 2011

Despres out of the Safari as Smith brothers get set for 1-2 finish

Cyril Despres has been ruled out of the Australasian Safari.

Cyril Despres has been ruled out of the Australasian Safari.

Frenchman Cyril Despres is out of the Australasian Safari after injuring his foot in the first stage of day six yesterday, understood to be tissue damage after connecting with a fence post.

The Dakar legend was sitting fourth overall entering day six, scoring 11 consecutive top 10 stage finishes, before disaster struck.

Despite the injury the French star rode on to finish ninth in Stage 12, but was unable to take his place at the starting line for Stage 13, and dashing his podium hopes.

Shane Diener continued his strong form winning both stages today but is sixth overall following a mechanical failure yesterday.

Sticking with his game plan is moto leader Todd Smith who has continued to hold a strong lead since the end of Leg One, now 13 minutes ahead.

Both Todd Smith and brother Jacob are riding steadily and both said they were avoiding risks.

“It was a tough day. The track was tight and overgrown, it was rocky and on some parts there was no track to follow,” Todd said.

“It’s better for me to go fast, because if I go slow my concentration lapses. All I have to do tomorrow is look after the bike and see it home.”

Jacob is ahead by almost 40 minutes to nearest rival Rod Faggotter, who has held on despite riding with a broken hand.

Yesterday’s course west of Leonora took competitors in and around old mine sites and salt lakes and areas damaged by water erosion for 377 competitive kilometres.

Some of the tracks had not been used for several years along with rough, rocky and overgrown sections and finishing in deep sand and a final fast section.

Today is the final leg of Australasian Safari, taking off from Leonora to Kalgoorlie and finishing with the final section at the new Kalgoorlie Golf Course and the finish line.