AUSTRALIAN SAFARI RALLY - Friday, August 24 DAY 6: Top Springs-Douglas Daly Total distance: 627km. Competitive distance: 326km (3 stages) CALDECOTT CLOSES ON SECOND SAFARI WIN KTM rider Andrew Caldecott today moved a decisive step closer to ...
AUSTRALIAN SAFARI RALLY - Friday, August 24
DAY 6: Top Springs-Douglas Daly
Total distance: 627km. Competitive distance: 326km (3 stages)
CALDECOTT CLOSES ON SECOND SAFARI WIN
KTM rider Andrew Caldecott today moved a decisive step closer to a second successive Moto Division title in the Australian Safari international cross country rally by dominating Honda rival Stephen Greenfield as the 4,426km event through the Northern Territory headed toward conclusion.
Caldecott, from South Australia, was 13-mins 19-secs quicker than Alice Springs-based Greenfield in the sixth stage over 627km from Top Springs to Douglas Daly. The performance by Caldecott on his KTM 660 Rallye left him with an overall time of 22-hrs 44-mins 39-secs, and an advantage of 49-mins 35-secs over Greenfield, riding a Honda XR650.
Caldecott said the amount he extended his lead today was important because it would cover possible time lost in the event of a crash or a mechanical problem in tomorrow's penultimate stage over 146km from Douglas Daly to Darwin, and in the four sections on Sunday, including the finale at Mindil Beach.
"It's not over yet, but the time I pulled on Stephen (Greenfield) today is a big help," said Caldecott. "It's given me a much bigger gap than I had before and if I have a problem then I've got some time up my sleeve. This was my best day since the start. The bike was awesome everywhere and I felt good riding hard. The game-plan now is to put together a couple of clean, tidy days to the finish and not to take too many unnecessary risks."
The machine being raced by the 37-year-old from Keith arrived in Australia from the KTM factory in Austria earlier this month, and Caldecott said he wanted to repay the manufacturer support with victory.
London-based Queenslander Andrew Coaker is third on another KTM 660 Rallye, and Honda-mounted American Casey McCoy is fourth. Northern Territory rider Jamie O'Neill continued his remarkable performance by finishing the stage in sixth position overall on a Yamaha WR400, significantly less powerful than most of the other machines in the top 10.
In the Auto Division for four-wheel-drive vehicles, Sydney's Bruce Garland overcame a steering component failure to retain the lead in a Holden Rally Team Jackaroo with an overall time of 24-hrs 11-mins 15-secs.
Garland's team-mate, nine-times Bathurst 1000 winner Peter Brock, charged from fourth to second in a production-based Jackaroo, and is 51-mins 36-secs adrift of the lead.
Victorian Stephen Riley, who began the stage in second position, dropped back to fourth after his Mitsubishi Pajero stopped in a creek crossing. Former Australian speedway champion Ross Nicastri was delayed for the same reason in his Nissan Patrol, after starting the stage in third place.
Garland said he was able to solve his mechanical problem by sourcing a replacement tie-rod end from the driver of a production Jackaroo at a service stop.
"I saw a guy in a Jackaroo and paid him $1,000 for the part I needed," said Garland. "The bloke was an off-duty policeman and he was understanding of my situation. It got me going again, otherwise I could have been in big trouble."
Alice Springs driver Bruce Muir started the stage in fifth place, but was forced to withdraw because of an engine failure in his Nissan Patrol Ute.
<pre> OVERALL POSITIONS (after Day 6 - Friday, August 24):
MOTO DIVISION: POS RIDER MOTORCYCLE TIME 1. A. Caldecott (SA) KTM 660 Rallye 22:44.39 2. S. Greenfield (NT) Honda XR650 23:34.14 3. A. Coaker (Qld) KTM 660 Rallye 24:29.17 4. C. McCoy (U.S.) Honda XR650 25:10.09 5. M. Carey (Vic) Honda XR650 26:05.56 6. J. O'Neill (NT) Yamaha WR400 26:07.30 7. T. Fitzhardinge (WA) KTM 660 Rallye 26:09.03 8. C. Ross (NT) KTM 640 26:21.03 5. P. MacDonald (NSW) Honda XR650 26:35.26 10. D. Schwarz (SA) Yamaha WR250 26:51.17
AUTO DIVISION: POS DRIVERS VEHICLE TIME 1. B. Garland (NSW)-H. Suzuki (NSW) Holden Jackaroo 24:11.15 2. P. Brock (Vic)-W. Webster (NSW) Holden Jackaroo 25:02.51 3. D. Harringon (Vic)-B. Bennett (Vic) Nissan Patrol Ute 25:27.56 4. S. Riley (Vic)-J. Doble (NSW) Mitsubishi Pajero 25:56.00 5. W. Ridge (NSW)-J. Ridge (NSW) Mitsubishi Pajero 26:03.38 6. T. Denham (NSW)-M. Denham (NSW) Mitsubishi Pajero 26:11.48 7. P. Lockhart (Qld)-T. Donovan (Qld) Mitsubishi Pajero 26:45.41 8. B. Land (U.S.)-P. Connolly (Vic) Isuzu Jackaroo 29:41.36 9. S. Bates (SA)-D. Ahola (SA) Mitsubishi Triton 29:50.27 10. T. Pinson (NSW)-R. Lewis (NSW) Mitsubishi Pajero 96:43.40