It’s now only 29 days until the Australasian Safari kicks off for 2011. GHR Honda have a team of 8 riders entered, including 2 first time Safari entrants from South Africa.

GHR Honda Australasian Safari 2011 – Entrant list

Jacob Smith – Condobolin, NSW
Todd Smith
– Condobolin, NSW
Charlie Ball
– Katanning, Perth, WA
Stuart Bowen – Valley Heights, NSW
Brett Cummings – Witbank, Mpumalanga, South Africa
David Geeves – Condobolin, NSW
Glen Grundy – Witbank, South Africa
Don Lark – Condobolin, NSW

There has been plenty going on behind the scenes at GHR since returning from Dakar in January this year. Most recently, GHR riders Jacob and Todd Smith secured first and second places respectively in the Yellow Mountain Cross Country held in August near their home town of Condobolin. It was a reassuring result in a year that has so far been dappled with some tough luck and a range of issues to do with fuel supply. Accordingly, GHR have been keenly focussed on development and infrastructure.

Amongst the works are larger CRF450R front tanks for events such as the Finke as well as new front tanks for the CRF450X Dakar and Safari bikes. Another interesting development is the emerging interest in the 700XX Honda quad, and there are firm plans to enter clients on these quads for the 2013 Dakar.

Speaking of Dakar, the decision was made earlier this year not to enter the 2012 race in order to allow more thorough development for 2013. The 2011 Dakar was always considered to be the start of a 3 year project for GHR. While the temptation was there to race in 2012, the experiences this year pointed towards the need for significant changes before the next campaign. Consequently, the venerable GHR MAN truck currently in Europe has been sold. It was a massive decision to part with the grey MAN, but there is some comfort in knowing it’s still amongst friends with Geoffrey Olholm of the Coconut Car Racing Team acquiring it for their next Dakar campaign.

The lack of Australian compliance was always going to make it tricky to bring the MAN back to Australia for domestic use. A new one will be designed and built locally on a large four wheel drive platform, partly to facilitate easier contact with the progress of the construction, but also to allow it to be used domestically. It will be used Hattah, Finke, Condo and Safari next year, and then in the 4 weeks after Safari it will be repacked and sent to Dakar. The design will be substantially bigger than the MAN, and organised in such a way that precludes the need to ship a separate shipping container overseas as was the situation for 2011. The body will incorporate insulated, dust proof sleeping and bathroom facilities to offer the riders some quiet recovery space after a long day in the saddle. To accompany the truck, there is also the idea to build a rugged car to be entered into the race carrying registered parts that will be made available to other entrants as part of a support package.

It’s going to be a busy 12 months!