Australian Safari Rally - Monday, August 26
DAY 2 REPORT: Condobolin-Griffith, NSW
Total distance: 476km. Competitive distance: 250km (4 stages)

Hederics crashes into trees In Australian Safari Rally.

Mildura's John Hederics had a setback to his hopes of becoming the first competitor to win the Australian Safari on two and four wheels when he crashed his Nissan Patrol in trees near Griffith in today's second stage of the international cross country rally through rural NSW.

The 39-year-old farmer won the Moto Division of the Safari six times in the 1990s on Hondas, and entered the Auto Division for four-wheel-drive vehicles in this year's 4,375km rally in a Nissan Patrol with Kees Weel.

Hederics led by 3-mins 18-secs after yesterday's opening stage from Bathurst to Condobolin, and retained first position until crashing just 5km from the end of today's final timed competitive section.

The incident damaged both rear wheels and the differential of Hederics' Nissan, and he was delayed while making hasty repairs before competing the stage. He was relegated to ninth position, and is now 29-mins 8-secs behind new leader and defending champion Bruce Garland going into tomorrow's 770km stage from Griffith to Wentworth.

"I'm disappointed because apart from a puncture I'd been having a good run until crashing," said Hederics. "It happened when I was following a bike in the dust. I clipped a tree, spun around and then slammed into another tree. It tore the back out of the car."

"We patched things up the best we could and limped home to the finish on three wheels. It wasn't a pretty sight. Tonight we'll be doing a full repair job and get cracking again tomorrow. It's going to be hard to win from here, but I haven't given up because everyone is going to have one bad day and we've had ours."

Garland, who began today's stage in fourth position, leads with an overall time of 5-hrs 20-mins 13-secs in a Holden Rally Team Jackaroo. Victorian Steve Riley moved up to second position, 8-mins 13-secs behind Garland in a Cashcard Mitsubishi Pajero.

"It's incredibly dusty because of the drought and we drove conservatively and concentrated on getting our navigation spot-on and trying to keep mistakes to a minimum," said Garland. "You need to be patient in these conditions."

Touring car legend Peter Brock had a setback before the start of the second stage when he was penalised 17-mins for inadvertently failing to complete the course in yesterday's first stage. The nine-times Bathurst 1000 champion is now in 11th position in his production-based Jackaroo and 32-mins 52-secs behind team-mate Garland.

The third Holden Rally Team Jackaroo, raced by part-time V8 Supercar driver Nathan Pretty, was slowed by fuel problems and is now well outside the top 10. Queensland's Colin Hunter was another leading contender to strike problems, with radiator damage to his Jeep Wrangler.

Andy Caldecott is the new leader in the Moto Division, with an overall time of 4-hrs 54-mins 58-secs on a KTM 660 Rallye. The South Australian, who won the Safari the past two years, leads Condobolin's Paul Sinderberry on a Honda by 33-secs.

Caldecott, who trailed Sinderberry by 1-min 12-secs after the opening stage, crashed once during an aggressive display.

"I went out hard to try and catch Paul (Sinderberry) in the first section," said Caldecott. "I made some mistakes, but you have to take calculated risks. I had one 'get-off' when I clipped a stump and it threw me down. Fortunately I wasn't hurt apart from a sore elbow."

South Australia's Andy Haydon is third and South African Andy Cox fourth, both riding KTMs, and American Casey McCoy completed the top five on a Honda.

The Safari is promoted by Octagon, the global marketing-led sports and event marketing company. It offers worldwide expertise across all eight major sports and event marketing disciplines: athlete representation, consultancy, event management, property representation and sales, TV rights sales and distribution, TV production and archive, new media and licensing and merchandising.

<pre> OVERALL POSITIONS (after Day 2 - Monday, August 26):

AUTO DIVISION: POS DRIVERS VEHICLE TIME 1. B. Garland-H. Suzuki (NSW) Holden Jackaroo 5:20.13 2. S. Riley-J. Doble (Vic) Mitsubishi Pajero 5:28.26 3. P. Glennie-P. Clark (NSW) Toyota Series RV 5:32.44 4. W. Ridge-J. Ridge (NSW) Mitsubishi Pajero 5:38.41 5. A. Brown-P. Styles (Vic) Holden Frontera 5:40.10 6. A. Stott-M. Davies (Vic) Nissan Patrol 5:40.57 7. B. Muir-A. Muir (NT) Nissan Patrol 5:41.47 8. R. Cremen-G. Comber (NSW) Mitsubishi Pajero 5:49.19 9. J. Hederics (Vic)-K. Weel (Qld) Nissan Patrol 5:49.21 10. R. Owen-R. Cairns (Vic) Nissan Patrol 5:50.26

MOTO DIVISION: POS RIDER MOTORCYCLE TIME 1. A. Caldecott (SA) KTM 660 Rallye 4:54.58 2. P. Sinderberry (NSW) Honda XR650 4:55.31 3. A. Haydon (SA) KTM 660 Rallye 5:09.26 4. A. Cox (Sth Africa) Red Bull KTM 660 Rallye 5:12.11 5. C. McCoy (U.S.) Honda XR650 5:20.24 6. S. Greenfield (NT) Honda XR650 5:20.52 7. R. Runnalls (Vic) Suzuki DR-Z400 5:33.40 8. T. Fitzhardinge (WA) KTM 660 Rallye 5:35.42 9. P. McDonald (Vic) Honda XR650 5:37.41 10. P. Nelson (NSW) KTM 520EXC 5:40.19

-www.australiansafari.com.au-