Australian Safari -- A Massive Moving Motorsport Operation
MONDAY, AUGUST 13: More than 170 competition and support vehicles and motorcycles and about 500 people will travel through the Northern Territory in the 4,426km Australian Safari international cross country rally which starts this Sunday.
There are 20 vehicles competing in the Auto Division category and 45 entries in the Moto Division of the Safari from August 19-26. They will be accompanied along the course from Alice Springs to Darwin by more than 100 other vehicles for officials, safety and medical teams, media personnel, and service crews.
There will also be two Cessna aircraft and a Jet Ranger helicopter circulating in the air during the Safari, all carrying communication equipment capable of contacting officials and competitors on the ground, and to assist with emergencies when required.
Clerk of Course Bob Carpenter, who has been involved with the Safari since its inception in 1985, said meticulous pre-event planning was required to transport and refuel the various vehicles and aircraft, and move personnel through the Territory, plus setting up overnight stops along the course.
"This is a unique event in Australian motorsport because you're moving a massive combination of manpower and equipment through some of the country's most remote outback areas," he said.
"You have to plan for almost every possible situation, and we learn something new every year to keep improving and doing it better."
"We've never had a drop of rain in the Safari since it started, but we've got procedures in place on how to deal with that if it was to happen."
Carpenter and Deputy Clerk of Course Jim Reddiex have conducted two surveys of the course this year in preparation for the Safari.
"Almost 90-percent of the event is held on tracks through the various stations, so we have to meet with all the landowners and get permission to go through their properties," said Carpenter.
"Another thing to plan with the course is the refuelling stops at the roadhouses along the way."
Equipment and personnel on the 2001 Safari include:
# 2 Set-Up vehicles operating six hours ahead of the field to place caution markers
# 3 Safety Vehicles operating one to two hours ahead of the field to check the course
# 2 Sweep vehicles operating behind the field checking on competitors
# 3 Recovery Vehicles to pick up vehicles and motorcycles that have broken down and transport them to the next overnight stop
# 3 Northern Territory St John's Ambulances with paramedics
# 1 Jet Ranger helicopter to carry Clerk of Course, Medivac facilities and paramedic
# 2 Cessna aircraft equipped with Ultra High Frequency (UHF) and Very High Frequency (VHF) radio equipment that can be contacted by all competitors and officials
# 53 officials manning Set-Up, Safety, Sweep, and Recovery vehicles
# 30 control officials operating in 10 teams of three to man time controls at start and finish of each stage.
# 50 officials travelling in trucks and other vehicles for event administration, merchandising, and erecting and dismantling temporary medical and headquarters facilities at each overnight stop
# 80 Service Vehicles attached to teams with support crews and equipment.
# 65 entrants - 20 in Auto Division and 45 in Moto Division
Carpenter said strict guidelines had been established to cover the possibility of serious injuries or illness during the event.
"In most instances the helicopter would be first on the scene, and it can pick up and take the injured person to one of the ambulances which offers full paramedic care," he said.
"If there was a serious injury, for example, people can be moved by air to hospitals in either Alice Springs, Katherine, Tennant Creek, or Darwin. The Cessnas are equipped to carry stretchers."
This year's Auto Division of the Safari includes a new rally class for lightweight four-wheel-drive vehicles. The Moto Division is round three of the Federation Internationale Motocycliste (FIM) Cross Country Rallies World Cup series.
The Safari is being supported for the third successive year by the Northern Territory Government. It is owned and produced by Octagon Worldwide, the sports marketing and entertainment division of the Interpublic Group, one of the world's largest marketing and communications groups.
2001 AUSTRALIAN SAFARI COURSE SCHEDULE
DAY 1 -- AUGUST 19: Alice Springs-Ayers Rock Resort
Moto/Auto Divisions: Total 775km. Competition 554km (3 stages)
Marathon Rally: Total 592km. Competition 263km (3 stages)
DAY 2 -- AUGUST 20: Ayers Rock Resort-Kings Creek
Moto/Auto Divisions: Total 376km. Competition 263km (2 stages)
Marathon Rally: Total 373km. Competition 93km (2 stages)
DAY 3 -- AUGUST 21: Kings Creek-Tilmouth Well
Moto/Auto Divisions: Total 682km. Competition 405km (3 stages)
Marathon Rally: Total 575km. Competition 206km (2 stages)
DAY 4 -- AUGUST 22: Tilmouth Well-Wycliffe Well
Moto/Auto Divisions: Total 557km. Competition 407km (2 stages)
Marathon Rally: Total 487km. Competition 247km (4 stages)
DAY 5 -- AUGUST 23: Wycliffe Well-Top Springs
Moto/Auto Divisions: Total 852km. Competition 489km (4 stages)
Marathon Rally: Total 812km. Competition 216km (2 stages)
DAY 6 -- AUGUST 24: Top Springs-Douglas Daly
Moto/Auto Divisions: Total 627km. Competition 326km (3 stages)
Marathon Rally: Total 589km. Competition 122km (3 stages)
DAY 7 -- AUGUST 25: Douglas Daly-Darwin
Moto/Auto Divisions: Total 409km. Competition 130km (3 stages)
Marathon Rally: Total 289km. Competition 61km (2 stages)
DAY 8 -- AUGUST 26: Darwin-Darwin
Moto/Auto Divisions: Total 146km. Competition 30km (4 stages)
Marathon Rally: Total 141km. Competition 26km (4 stages)
Moto/Auto Divisions: Total 4,426km. Competition 2,605km (24 stages)
Marathon Rally: Total 3,858km. Competition 1,235km (22 stages)