The Smith brothers have opened the 2011 Australian Safari with a solid 1-2 placing ahead of Rod Faggotter in third overall for the day.

The Condobolin brothers arrived in very good time for a relaxed fuel stop at Mullewa just after 7.30 this morning, and were the first two to appear at the service in Yalgoo following 183.45 competitive kilometres in SS1. Both riders took the stage relatively gently and later recounted a stage that was overgrown for most of the way with numerous washouts to test the reflexes and make navigation challenging. At about the 60km mark Ben Grabham surged forwards and passed Jacob who had started just ahead, but dropped back after crashing in a heavily overgrown section of the course.

At service, Jake’s bike was fitted with a new rear wheel, but otherwise the #2 and #6 Honda CRF450X machines were running superbly. All other GHR Honda riders arrived in due course. WA local Charlie Ball stopped to render assistance to a fallen quad rider he found unconscious but moved on a few minutes later when the rider came to. South African Glen Grundy was hit from behind by KTM690 mounted American Seth Strait, but both riders were able to continue. David Geeves crashed heavily, but regrouped and continued the race.

Todd and Jacob Smith moved the pace up a notch with SS2 and finished the day in first and second place, securing first and second overall ahead of Rod Faggotter, Ben Grabham and Dakar Rally race winner Cyril Despres from France. On a day that Jacob described as being very difficult to lead, Todd’s advantage of just over 3 minutes is a great start to the 2011 event.

Stage SS1 times:
2nd – Todd Smith – 01:56:46
5th – Jacob Smith – 01:58:17

Stage SS2 times:
1st – Todd Smith – 02:24:07
2nd – Jacob Smith – 02:25:48

Overall top 6 standings as follows:
1st – Todd Smith – 04:20:53
2nd – Jacob Smith – 04:24:05
3rd – Rod Faggotter – 04:25:41
4th – Ben Grabham – 04:26:33
5th – Matt Fish – 04:28:11
6th – Cyril Despres – 04:29:09

Tomorrow’s stages to Sandstone comprise just over 320km of competitive riding and a short transport of roughly 70km. At the time of writing the bikes are being serviced and the riders are marking up their roadbooks.

Some more pics from the day.