Cox dominates Australian Safari prologue.
South African motorcycle star Alfie Cox today made a stunning start to the 4,375km Australian Safari international cross country rally through rural NSW by winning the Prologue in Bathurst.
Cox, runner-up in this year's Paris-Dakar rally, emerged fastest among the 37 riders in the Moto Division by covering the 2km Prologue course in a time of 1-min 49-secs on a Red Bull KTM 660 Rallye. The 38-year-old from Durban earned the right to start from the front position in tomorrow's 421km opening leg from Bathurst to Condobolin.
"I stayed in the middle of the course and made sure I was braking early to keep a smooth corner speed," said Cox. "It can be good to start first because you don't have the dust, but at the same time you are making tracks for the others to follow and stay close to you."
Northern Territory's Stephen Greenfield, riding a Honda XR650, was second fastest in the Prologue with 1-min 51-secs, followed by another former Safari winner, Andy Haydon, of Adelaide, with 1-min 52-secs on a KTM. The 2001 and 2001 champion Andy Caldecott was sixth fastest on another KTM.
"The grass was slippery because I was first out on the course, and I messed up a couple of corners," said Caldecott.
Melbourne's Andy Brown emerged fastest in the Auto Division for four-wheel-drive vehicles with 1-min 58-secs in a turbo Holden Frontera. Brown, Safari champion in 1992, was delighted with the performance of his V6 3.5-litre machine.
"I got out there and had a go and managed to keep it together better than the others," said Brown. "I wanted to be up there somewhere so I'm pleased with the way we've started."
Queensland's Colin Hunter was second in a Jeep Wrangler, followed by four-times champion Bruce Garland in a Holden Jackaroo, and Mildura's John Hederics in a Nissan Patrol.
"We had to the Jackaroo's change engine in the last week so our preparation hasn't been as smooth as in previous years," said Garland. "However, I think we're going to be at the pointy end of business, and our reliability should be spot-on."
PROLOGUE RESULTS (Saturday, August 24):
POS RIDER MOTORCYCLE TIME
1. A. Cox (Sth Africa) KTM 660 Rallye 1:49
2. S. Greenfield (NT) Honda XR650 1:51
3. A. Haydon (SA) KTM 660 Rallye 1:52
4= C. McCoy (U.S.) Honda XR650 1:54
4= G. Henning (NSW) KTM 640 Adventurer 1:54
6= A. Caldecott (SA) KTM 660 Rallye 1:55
6= PG Lundmark (Sweden) KTM Rally Replica 1:55
6= D. Schwarz (SA) Yamaha WR400 1:55
9= P. Sinderberry (NSW) Honda XR650 1:56
9= D. Robinson (NSW) Yamaha WR426 1:56
POS DRIVERS VEHICLE TIME
1. A. Brown-P. Styles (Vic) Holden Frontera 1:58
2. C. Hunter (Qld)-B. Humphrey (NSW) Jeep Wrangler 2:00
3. B. Garland-H. Suzuki (NSW) Holden Jackaroo 2:01
4. J. Hederics (Vic)-K. Weel (Qld) Nissan Patrol 2:05
5. T. Denham-M. Denham (NSW) Mitsubishi Pajero 2:06
6= P. Glennie-P. Clark (NSW) Toyota Landcruiser 2:07
6= W. Ridge-J. Ridge (NSW) Mitsubishi Pajero 2:07
8. L. Collits-J. Paterson (NSW) Holden Jackeroo 2:08
9= N. Pretty (Vic)-J. Thomson (NSW) Holden Jackaroo 2:10
9= S. Riley-J. Doble (Vic) Mitsubishi Pajero 2:10
9= T. Conner-P. Conner (Vic) Nissan Utility 2:10
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