Holden Jackaroo driver Bruce Garland and KTM rider Andrew Caldecott today consolidated their positions as favourites to win the major honours in the Vodafone Australian Safari international cross country rally in the Northern Territory. Japanese...
Holden Jackaroo driver Bruce Garland and KTM rider Andrew Caldecott today consolidated their positions as favourites to win the major honours in the Vodafone Australian Safari international cross country rally in the Northern Territory.
Japanese rider Takuya Suzuki was an early casualty in the 155km compedtitive stage from Top Springs to Katherine, suffering chest injuries after crashing his Suzuki DR250. The 35-year-old from Tokyo was rushed to Katherine Hospital by ambulance, but was later discharged after x-rays revealed no broken bones.
Garland won the Auto Division class on the sixth day of the Safari, and the 42-year-old extended his outright lead to 39-mins and 17-secs over fellow-NSW driver Terry Denham in a Mitsubishi Pajero.
"We had two punctures so we had to drive flat-out to make up the time we lost," said Garland. "I think we should be able to knock it back, speed-wise, from here and protect our lead to the finish."
Queensland's Peter Lockhart moved up from fourth to third in a Holden Jackaroo. The Gold Coast driver is making his 16th successive Safari start since the event began in 1985 and is on target for his first outright top-three podium finish. Victorian Des Harrington, who had been third after day five, slipped to fourth after a delay to repair a broken engine mount on his Nissan Patrol Ute.
"We've had a very clean run so far and if we can keep it that way there's no reason why we can't be on the podium, which would be a terrific result," said Lockhart.
NSW's Robert Gambino, driving a Suzuki Grand Vitara, lost his top 10 position because of front suspension failure.
Caldecott, who has led the Moto Division since the start, took the honours in today's stage and increased his lead to 1-hr 56-mins 33-secs on a KTM 660 Rallye. American Casey McCoy retained second position on a Honda XR400, followed by South Australian Tony Tervoert on a Husqvarna.
British rider Steve Blackney dropped from fifth to seventh after his KTM was slowed by an oil leak.
"The head gasket blew toward the end of the first section," said Blackney. "After two steep, rocky climbs I saw steam and thought it might have been water, but it was oil smoke. I managed to limp the bike back to the finish on borrowed oil - we must have gone through 10-litres. We're now out of contention so that's disappointing."
Former 500cc world champion Kevin Schwantz was slowed by a puncture for the second successive day.
"I'm getting better at these tyre changes - yesterday it was the back and today it's the front," said Schwantz. "I guess it cost me about 30-mins, and I lost more time when I went about 2km the wrong way and had to turn around and go back."
The Safari continues tomorrow with a 155km competitive stage tomorrow from Katherine to Darwin. The event will finish at Mindil Beach in Darwin on Sunday.
<pre> OVERALL POSITIONS (after Day 6 - Friday, August 25):
AUTO DIVISION: POS DRIVERS VEHICLE TIME 1. B. Garland (NSW)-H. Suzuki (NSW) Holden Jackaroo 23:17.12 2. T. Denham (NSW)-M. Denham (NSW) Mitsubishi Pajero 23:56.29 3. P. Lockhart (Qld)-T. Donovan (Qld) Holden Jackaroo 25:36.30 4. D. Harringon (Vic)-G. Taylor (NSW) Nissan Patrol Ute 25:48.55 5. G. Pfitzner (NSW)-J. Campbell (NSW) Nissan GQ 26:05.15 6. R. Emmins (Vic)-B. Humphrey (Vic) Jeep Grand Cherokee 26:57.09 7. B. Muir (NT)-A. Muir (NT) Nissan Patrol 27:01.52 8. B. Land (U.S.)-T. Carpenter (Qld) Isuzu Jackaroo 30:09.22 9. G. Ridge (Vic)-B. Edwards (SA) Nissan Patrol 30:53.28 10. H. Hodgkinson (NSW)-M. Gilfillan (NSW) Volkswagen Baja 30:56.02 11. S. Okawa (Jap)-M. Nemoto (Jap) Mitsubishi Pajero 35:39.53 12. C. Hunter (Qld)-J. Spencer (NSW) Jeep Wrangler 35:57.08 13. T. Pinson (NSW)-R. Lewis (NSW) Mitsubishi Pajero 39:57.04
MOTO DIVISION: POS RIDER MOTORCYCLE TIME 1. A. Caldecott (SA) KTM 660 Rallye 23:25.15 2. C. McCoy (U.S.) Honda XR400 25:21.48 3. T. Tervoert (SA) Husqvarna TE610E 25:36.07 4. R. Pollard (WA) KTM 640 Adventure 25:49.16 5. G. Hoffman (NSW) KTM 620 26:54.36 7. T. Kirby (NSW) Suzuki DR-Z400 27:10.52 5. S. Blackney (GB) KTM 660 Rallye 27:21.00 8. C. Ross (NT) Honda XR650 27:44.32 9. A. Roberts (NT) Honda XR400 27:47.21 10. P. Talintyre (NSW) KTM 640 Rallye 28:40.00 11. D. Auricht (NT) Yamaha TTR250 29:15.44 12. G. Henning (NSW) KTM LC4620GS 30:37.36 13. K. Schwantz (U.S.) Suzuki DR-Z400 30:48.22
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