WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19: The $100,000 Holden Jackaroo that dual Australian Safari champion Bruce Garland had intended to race in this year's international cross-country rally has been stolen outside his workshop in Sydney.
Garland, the Safari champion in 1996 and again three years later, and the NSW Police launched a statewide search for the four-wheel-drive Jackaroo immediately after the vehicle was discovered missing late yesterday afternoon.
"One way or another we will still get to the Safari, even if it's in another vehicle, but this has thrown a real spanner in the works," he said.
Garland said the 3.5-litre V6-powered Jackaroo was stolen after it had been parked outside his workshop in Rydalmere while his team was preparing another vehicle.
"When I came back to get the Jackaroo where I'd parked it later in the day it was gone," he said.
"It's a noisy area and no one saw or heard anything, so I'd say whoever stole the vehicle made a forced entry and then drove off in it."
"The Police are looking for it and we're expecting it to turn up somewhere because it's got stickers all over it and it would be difficult to hide."
"It's not the type of car you could sell because it's got all the lightweight panels, and it been fitted with special brakes and suspension parts."
"I can't imagine anyone took it to race because it would be recognised straight away, so maybe it was joyriders."
Garland said unless the Jackaroo was recovered quickly it would seriously disrupt his build-up to this year's 5000km Safari through the Northern Territory (Alice Springs to Darwin) from August 20-27.
He said he had also intended to race the Jackaroo that was stolen in the Finke Desert Race in the Northern Territory from June 10-12.
The 41-year-old driver has another Jackaroo which is being prepared to race in this weekend's Condobolin 750 in central NSW, and in the Nevada 2000 in the United States from July 8-15.
"We had been building up two cars for four events because we've got such a busy program this year," said Garland.
"This couldn't have happened at a worse time because my team has been flat-strap getting both cars ready for the various races."
The Jackaroo that was stolen was raced in the 1999 Safari by nine-times Bathurst 1000 champion Peter Brock. The vehicle is road-registered. The registration plate is NOS557 (Victoria).