Defending champion Bruce Garland today set a new speed record of 221-km/h and was trapped in a cattle stampede in the Vodafone Australian Safari international cross country rally in the Northern Territory.
The 42-year-old from Sydney set the record while driving his Holden Jackaroo across the Barclay Tablelands during a 402km section from Wycliffe Well to Top Springs. The speed achieved by Garland bettered the previous Safari record of 218-km/h he set on the way to winning the event in 1999.
Garland and navigator Harry Suzuki won the Auto Division class of the Wycliffe Well-Top Springs section. They now hold an overall lead of 38-mins and 24-secs over NSW's Terry Denham and son Michael Denham in a Mitsubishi Pajero after five days of the 4,067km event from Alice Springs to Darwin.
Shortly after setting the speed record, Garland and Suzuki were delayed when they were trapped in a cattle stampede.
"The area we were going through is well known for cattle grazing, and we came across a heard of 200 or more," said Garland. "When I banged on the horn they went crazy and started running around in all directions. It was like a 'Wild West' movie. Eventually we managed to get through and get back up to speed."
"Today was always because to be the fastest day of the Safari because most of the course was flat. I thought there was a chance we might get over 220-km/h if the conditions were right."
Victorian Des Harrington retained third position, despite engine problems with his Nissan Patrol Ute. NSW's Peter Glennie, who had been fourth after the fourth day, dropped out of the top 10 after severely damaging the front of his Toyota Landcruiser when he hit and killed a bull.
"We've had a misfire in the engine since the start, and today it got worse," said Harrington. "When we finished the day there was oil leaking under the vehicle. It's probably a holed piston or a blown head-gasket, but we can fix it overnight. Even though we didn't have a good day we've managed to consolidate third position because Peter (Glennie) had his dramas with the bull."
South Australian Andrew Caldecott extended his lead in the Moto Division to a massive 1-hr 41-mins 5-secs on his KTM 660 Rallye. The 36-year-old from Keith, who has led since the start, won today's section by 12-mins and 20-secs from South Australian Rob Pollard, also riding a KTM.
"The dust was terrible today," said Caldecott. "I had an advantage starting first because it meant the riders behind me had to deal with the dust and I didn't. There were cattle all along the various stages, and we also had to watch out for Kangaroos near the end of the day."
American Casey McCoy remains in section position on a Honda XR400. Fellow-American Kevin Schwantz, the 1993 500cc world champion, retained 12th position on a Suzuki DR-Z400, despite being slowed by a flat tyre.
The Safari continues tomorrow with a 329km competitive section from Top Springs to Katherine. The event will finish on Mindil Beach in Darwin on Sunday. <pre> OVERALL POSITIONS (after Day 5 - Thursday, August 24):
AUTO DIVISION: POS DRIVERS VEHICLE TIME 1. B. Garland (NSW)-H. Suzuki (NSW) Holden Jackaroo 19:44.51 2. T. Denham (NSW)-M. Denham (NSW) Mitsubishi Pajero 20.23.15 3. D. Harringon (Vic)-G. Taylor (NSW) Nissan Patrol Ute 21:16.28 4. P. Lockhart (Qld)-T. Donovan (Qld) Holden Jackaroo 21:45.18 5. R. Gambino (NSW)-D. Lowe (NSW) Suzuki Grand Vitara 22:18.42 6. G. Pfitzner (NSW)-J. Campbell (NSW) Nissan GQ 22:21.08 7. T. Pinson (NSW)-R. Lewis (NSW) Mitsubishi Pajero 22:42.04 8. R. Emmins (Vic)-B. Humphrey (Vic) Jeep Grand Cherokee 22:52.26 9. B. Muir (NT)-A. Muir (NT) Nissan Patrol 23:12.55 10. B. Land (U.S.)-T. Carpenter (Qld) Isuzu Jackaroo 25:22.18
MOTO DIVISION: POS RIDER MOTORCYCLE TIME 1. A. Caldecott (SA) KTM 660 Rallye 19:49.39 2. C. McCoy (U.S.) Honda XR400 21:30.44 3. T. Tervoert (SA) Husqvarna TE610E 21:53.16 4. R. Pollard (WA) KTM 640 Adventure 22:06.57 5. S. Blackney (GB) KTM 660 Rallye 22:46.44 6. G. Hoffman (NSW) KTM 620 23:01.39 7. T. Kirby (NSW) Suzuki DR-Z400 23:21.38 8. C. Ross (NT) Honda XR650 23:34.46 9. A. Roberts (NT) Honda XR400 23:54.09 10. P. Talintyre (NSW) KTM 640 Rallye 24:39.41 11. D. Auricht (NT) Yamaha TTR250 25:08.55 12. K. Schwantz (U.S.) Suzuki DR-Z400 26:03.41
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