AUSTRALIAN SAFARI RALLY - Friday, August 30
DAY 6: White Cliffs-Cobar, NSW
Total distance: 677km. Competitive distance: 353km (3 stages)
Caldecott closes in on third straight win in Australian Safari
KTM rider Andy Caldecott moved closer to a third successive win in the Moto Division of the Australian Safari with an incident-free performance in today's sixth stage of the international cross-country rally through rural NSW.
The 38-year-old from Keith in South Australia, who won the Safari in 2000 and 2001, completed today's 677km stage from White Cliffs to Cobar with an overall time of 20-hrs 29-mins 32-secs.
He holds a lead of 28-mins 41-secs over second-placed Paul Sinderberry of NSW on a Honda going into tomorrow's seventh and penultimate stage of the 4,375km event, which is promoted by global sports and event management company Octagon.
Caldecott said he was unconcerned that Sinderberry had reduced his lead by 5-mins 2-secs in today's 677km stage from White Cliffs to Cobar.
"My tactics now are to keep it steady and protect my lead," said Caldecott. "Losing a few minutes here or there isn't going to make a big difference, so there's no point doing taking any unnecessary risks that could bring me undone."
"Today we had some very rocky sections and then some flat-out open stuff on old tracks with scrub, and I concentrated hard to get through without any dramas. The bike is working like clockwork and hopefully I can keep things together all the way to the finish."
Sinderberry, from Condobolin, was fastest in today's stage and said he was making every effort to apply pressure on Caldecott in a bid to force a mistake.
"I'm riding the wheels off the Honda," said Sinderberry. "We closed the gap today, but it's going to be tough from here and all I can do is press on and hope for the best."
South African Alfie Cox, runner-up in this year's Paris-Dakar rally, retained third position on a KTM and is now 33-mins 3-secs behind Caldecott. Cox is followed by Swede PG Lundmark on a KTM and Honda-mounted American Casey McCoy. NSW's Cheryl Muldoon, the only woman competitor in the event, is 23rd on a Yamaha WR250.
In the Auto Division for four-wheel-drive vehicles, Sydney's Bruce Garland, driving a modified Holden Rally Team Jackaroo, extended his lead over second-placed Steve Riley of Victoria to 17-mins 2-secs.
Garland, who began today's stage leading by 13-mins 14-secs, has an overall time of 22-hrs 35-mins 27-secs. NSW's Peter Glennie remained third in a Toyota Series RV, followed by Mildura's John Hederics in a Nissan Patrol, and Victoria's Andy Brown in a Holden Frontera.
Multiple Bathurst 1000 winner Peter Brock was slowed by a puncture and mechanical problems, but still improved from 12th to 11th in his production-based Jackaroo. Northern Territory driver Bruce Muir, who began the stage fourth, withdrew because of an engine failure in his Nissan Patrol.
Tonight Clerk of Course Bob Carpenter announced a charge had been made against Safari competitor Lindsay Collits, a 34-year-old from Wagga who is driving a Jackaroo.
The charge was for: 'using or offering violence by any means towards any official or competitor or other person at, arising from, or during the course of, any meeting or in the environs of any track used for a meeting'.
Carpenter said no comment would be made on the charge until it had been considered by stewards.
The Safari continues tomorrow with a 593km stage from Cobar to Dubbo.
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<pre> OVERALL POSITIONS (after Day 6 - Friday, August 30):
MOTO DIVISION: POS RIDER MOTORCYCLE TIME 1. A. Caldecott (SA) KTM 660 Rallye 20:29.32 2. P. Sinderberry (NSW) Honda XR650 20:58.13 3. A. Cox (Sth Africa) Red Bull KTM 660 Rallye 21:02.35 4. P. Lundmark (Sweden) KTM Rallye Replica 22:24.43 5. C. McCoy (U.S.) Honda XR650 22:34.40 6. T. Fitzhardinge (WA) KTM 660 Rallye 23:39.52 7. R. Runnalls (Vic) Suzuki DR-Z400 23:51.44 8. D. Schwarz (SA) Yamaha WR400 24:27.19 9. P. McDonald (Vic) Honda XR650 24:29.04 10. P. Baker (SA) Yamaha WR426 25:39.18
AUTO DIVISION: POS DRIVERS VEHICLE TIME 1. B. Garland-H. Suzuki (NSW) Holden Jackaroo 22:35.27 2. S. Riley-J. Doble (Vic) Mitsubishi Pajero 22:52.29 3. P. Glennie-P. Clark (NSW) Toyota Series RV 22:57.14 4. J. Hederics (Vic)-K. Weel (Qld) Nissan Patrol 23:09.49 5. A. Brown-P. Styles (Vic) Holden Frontera 23:48.54 6. R. Cremen-G. Comber (NSW) Mitsubishi Pajero 23:59.58 7. A. Stott-M. Davies (Vic) Nissan Patrol 24:04.02 8. W. Ridge-J. Ridge (NSW) Mitsubishi Pajero 24:26.59 9. T. Conner-P. Conner (Vic) Nissan Utility 24:32.39 10. R. Owen-R. Cairns (Vic) Nissan Patrol 24:53.43