Garland to race new Holden Jackaroo in the Safari

TUESDAY, JULY 10: Australian Safari legend Bruce Garland will have a new Holden Jackaroo for his attempt on a record fourth win in the international cross country rally through the Northern Territory next month. Garland said he hoped the new ...

TUESDAY, JULY 10: Australian Safari legend Bruce Garland will have a new Holden Jackaroo for his attempt on a record fourth win in the international cross country rally through the Northern Territory next month.

Garland said he hoped the new four-wheel-drive Jackaroo being built at his team's workshop in Sydney would be capable breaking the Safari speed record of 221km/h during the 4,300km event from August 19-26.

The 42-year-old and co-driver Harry Suzuki became the first three-time Auto Division winners of the Safari with their victory in 2000, and they will again team up for this year's rally over a course from Alice Springs to Darwin.

Garland said the team's new four-wheel-drive Jackaroo would feature a six cylinder engine which produced about 220kW, and he added the vehicle would have improved fuel economy, and updated communications and navigation equipment compared to previous models he had raced in the Safari.

"There are numerous improvements with the latest technology, and we've also developed a better ventilation system to keep the air flowing through the cabin," said Garland.

"This will keep the temperatures down and make things more comfortable, which is important in the Safari when you're driving for five or six hours in hot, dusty conditions."

Garland, who previously won the Safari in 1996 and again the past two years, said his prospects for a fourth victory had also been enhanced by testing new mud-terrain Bridgestone tyres during the Finke Desert Race near Alice Springs during June.

"We struck mud and water on the second day of the Finke, but the Jackaroo was flying and I've no doubt we'll be in good shape if we cop those sort of conditions in the Safari," he said.

Garland said he would attempt to better the Safari speed record he set during the 2000 event on the fifth day of this year's rally in stages between Wycliffe Well and Top Springs.

"You've got a lot of straight tracks with hard-packed terrain in the middle stages which is what you need for a crack at the speed record," he said.

"It's an amazing feeling when you're sliding sideways at more than 200km/h on dirt in one of these four-wheel-drive vehicles because there's not a lot of room for error!"

Garland believes his success in the Safari can be partially attributed to tactics and the experience he has gained from 10 previous starts in the event.

"You learn when to go hard, and when to pull back, and finding a speed that allows you to maintain the advantage relative to where the other competitors are," he said.

"Another thing is driving to the conditions; for instance, you know it's going to be rocky in the first few days around Alice Springs so you pace yourself knowing the tyres are going to cop a hiding."

"You've also got to realise you're competing in remote areas, and when there's a problem you've got to be able to fix things quickly and on some days 'nurse' the vehicle to the end of the stage without losing too much time."

Garland said he expected to have a stock of about 30 tyres for the Safari, and he would have a support crew and vehicle at the event for any major repairs and maintenance required at overnight stops.

Other leading competitors entered in the 2001 Safari are NSW's Terry Denham, who was runner-up in 2000, in an updated Mitsubishi Pajero, Peter Lockhart from the Gold Coast in a Jackaroo, and Victoria's Des Harrington in a Nissan Patrol Ute. Lockhart was third in the 2000 rally, and Harrington was fourth.

This year's Safari also includes a new rally class for lightweight four-wheel-drive vehicles, and cars, and the Moto Division, which is round three of the Federation Internationale Motocycliste (FIM) Cross Country Rallies World Cup series.

The Safari is being supported for the third successive year by the Northern Territory Government. It is owned and produced by Octagon Worldwide, the sports marketing and entertainment division of the Interpublic Group, one of the world's largest marketing and communications groups.

-Mike Porter

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About this article
Series Cross-Country Rally
Drivers Peter Lockhart , Bruce Garland