Archive for September, 2011

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25.9.11 – Safari Leg 2

Leg 2 of the Australasian Safari was a short day for both riders and crews, with the Smith brothers being the first two bikes rolling out of Mt Magnet from 7.30am, and arriving in Sandstone shortly after midday.

SS3 consisted of 196.96km before the Nyuing service, followed by 129.75km in SS4. All GHR riders successfully cleared both selectives stages save for Stuart Bowen who had a stick spear through his boot in SS4. At the time of writing Bowen was undergoing treatment at Sandstone but he is intending to continue the race tomorrow. His bike has just been returned to the crew for servicing.

SS3 was won by Jacob Smith with a time of 01:54:56, followed by Ben Grabham at 01:55.49 and Todd Smith at 01:56:37.

Todd Smith was just under a minute faster than his brother in SS4 with a stage time of 01:11:10 over Jacob’s 01:12:08.

Todd leads the Safari at 07:28:40, followed by Jacob at 07:31:22 and Ben Grabham at 07:32:28. Cyril Despres stands in sixth place at 07:43:11 total race time.

Rider comments:

Jacob Smith: “Todd and I rode together for much of the way today and worked together. Over here you do have to read the terrain more than at Dakar and having someone to ride with is a huge help. At Dakar, if it’s a 45 degree corner, the arrow shows the corner as it really is, angle and everything. Here you have to work it out as you go and that’s what we are used to. There will be a 4 or 5 kilometre length of road that does change direction, quite often but it’s marked as straight. But it doesn’t mean there aren’t things waiting for you around the next bend.”

Todd Smith: “The terrain opened up a bit more today which suits me well. I struggled a bit in the morning just finding the track, but it came good in SS4. Early on there really wasn’t a well defined track, just a change in the colour of the grass at times – so definitely another day that was hard on the lead riders. I’d actually be happy to go out third tomorrow. Just spotting the odd roost mark helps define bumps and corners, making it so much easier to ride fast. That’s where riding with Jake was so good when we joined up. We raced each other most of the way for a great run with no mistakes.

Vale Don Hoffmann

It’s with sadness that the GHR family announce the passing of Glenn Hoffmann’s father Don on the evening of 23 September 2011. Don had been ill for some time but celebrated life right up to the end, surrounded by loved ones in hospital while he watched the footy on Friday night. When he learned how well Jacob and Todd had run in the prologue, his response was a resolute “stick it up ‘em!” with a fist in the air. The Hoffmann family and team knew that Don – the man who first put Glenn on a motorcycle – remained GHR’s biggest supporter all the way to his last. Having played a huge part of the successes achieved over the years, he will be sorely missed but fondly remembered by all.

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24.9.11 – Safari Leg 1 wrap up

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.

 

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23.9.11 – Prologue

Following the ceremonial start at Whitford Nodes, the GHR base at Hillarys was cleared at 7.00am and the team headed 400km north along the coast to Geraldton for the race prologue. Although this 22km sprint does not figure in the overall race time, it establishes the start order for leg 1. The riders left the bivouac at their set intervals starting just before 3.00pm.

All GHR riders made it safely through and three riders placed in the top 10 standings:

1 6 SMITH Honda
CRF450X
16:05
2 1 GRABHAM KTM
450SXF
16:14
3 2 SMITH Honda
CRF450X
16:16
4 51 O?CONNOR KTM
EXC 530
16:20
5 31 DIENER Yamaha
WR 450 F
16:25
6 72 GRABHAM Husaberg
FE570
16:26
7 3 FISH KTM
505SXF
16:42
8 5 DESPRES KTM
450RR
16:44
9 56 FAGGOTTER Yamaha
WR450F
17:02
10 27 GEEVES Honda
CRF450X
17:04
11 10 SUNDERLAND Husaberg
FE570
17:07
12 18 LUCCHESE Husaberg
FE450
17:15
13 19 ERCEG honda
crf450x
17:16
14 29 COOLE Husaberg
FE570
17:21
14 36 SCOBLE Honda
CRF450X
17:21
16 35 BALL Honda
CRF450X
17:39
17 4 SCHWARZ Husaberg
FE570
17:40
18 37 NAPPY Honda
CRF450X
17:54
19 41 WILLIAMS HONDA
CRF450X
17:58
20 54 VERNON Yamaha
WR450
18:12
21 89 COONEY KTM
950 SE
18:33
22 32 HODGMAN Husqvarna
TE510
18:35
23 14 CONNELL Husaberg
FE570
18:38
24 40 BOWEN Honda
CRF450X
18:41
25 9 HARSLETT Honda
CRF 450 X Rallye
18:44
26 73 HEUCHAN Husaberg
FE570
18:55
27 25 LARK Honda
CRF450X
19:11
28 26 O’BRIEN Husaberg
FE570
19:34
29 44 ROHRLACH Yamaha
WR450F
19:41
30 39 COATES Honda
CRF450X
19:51
31 42 BURFORD Husaberg
FE 570
20:15
32 28 JONES KTM
530 EXC
20:26
33 11 SEEL Husaberg
FE570
20:36
34 50 CHAPPELL KTM
530 EXC-R
20:41
34 75 SHEEHAN KTM
530 EXC
20:41
36 71 YOUNG Husaberg
FE570
20:46
37 34 WEXLER Yamaha
WR450
20:53
38 15 BOUWKNEGT KTM
450 Rally
21:06
39 22 ERIKSSON Suzuki
DRZ-400E
21:22
40 55 McKIE HUSABERG
FE 570
21:33
41 74 LAWN KTM
SE 950R
22:11
42 38 SAUNDERS Honda
CRF450x
22:13
43 8 GRUNDY Honda
CRF450X11
23:55
44 45 SCOTT Husaberg
FE570
25:10
45 16 STRAIT KTM
690E
27:27

Jacob Smith will be the first to leave bivouac at 6.30 tomorrow morning as leg 1 begins and the clock starts running officially towards overall race time. The total road distance covered by the riders will be just over 491 km, with 415 timed km. There are two splash and dash stops and one scheduled service opening at 10.45am. The competitors and service crews will meet again for the leg 1 bivouac 341km inland at Mt Magnet.

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22.9.11 – Ceremonial start…

Today we finally managed to get everyone together in one place. This shot was taken following the riders briefing and just before the riders took off for the official start of the event.

It’s been a very busy 48 hours. Today was the ceremonial start and Safari Show at Whitford Nodes.  The crowds gathered on a stunning, sunny afternoon to meet the riders and see the machinery.

Tomorrow we travel to Geraldton for the prologue to set the start order. The paperwork and preparations are all over now. The race begins…

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The paperwork…

 

 

Some pics from documentation and scruitineering today. Rider’s briefing and ceremonial start tomorrow…

 

 

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Safari Countdown

This morning, Wednesday 21 September means the 2011 Safari ceremonial start is less than a day away now. The last members of the team arrived at Perth airport yesterday. Most of the heavy equipment and rolling workshop was driven over by road earlier in the week.

2011 Australasian Safari entrants:
Jacob Smith – Condobolin, NSW
Todd Smith – Condobolin, NSW
Charlie Ball – Katanning, Perth, WA
Stuart Bowen – Valley Heights, NSW
David Geeves – Condobolin, NSW
Glen Grundy – Witbank, South Africa
Don Lark – Condobolin, NSW

While originally listed to start the event, Brett Cummings has withdrawn from event due to injury. However he has still travelled from his home town in Witbank, South Africa to accompany his compatriot Glen Grundy.

Preparations have been running smoothly, but sadly team owner and manager Glenn Hoffmann had to return to the east coast due to personal circumstances only 3 hours after landing in Perth. It’s hoped that he will be able to rejoin the team at some point.

Yesterday all riders did rode shake-down sessions to finalise jetting and suspension settings. The bikes have been cleaned and final preparations performed. This afternoon at 3.00pm Perth time, the riders and bikes will proceed to scrutineering. Thursday 22 September will see the ceremonial start open the event and the prologue on Friday 23 September will determine the start order for the first stage of the Safari the following day.

 

Not to be outshone by the Factory Boys, David Geeves finishes off Don Lark’s custom clutch cover.

More to come later in the day!