30.9.2011 – Safari Leg 7 – Victory!
GHR Honda rider Todd Smith’s early stranglehold on the Australasian Safari proved to be decisive as he claimed his first outright victory in the race on Friday 30 September in Kalgoorlie. Leading the contest from day one, Todd had ridden a calculated race and enjoyed a trouble free run aboard his GHR developed CRF450X to finish with a 20 minute lead. His younger brother Jacob Smith finished in second place overall to make it the best possible combination for the GHR, for Honda and for the Condobolin Smith family.
Todd Smith: “It feels great to finally be on top. I’ve learned a lot in the last two years and most of all you have to start well to finish well in this race. I put my head down and rode smart in the first two stages to lead by a few minutes. From there I rode just hard enough to stay in front but with enough care to stay safe. My body feels 100% after this one, whereas every other year I’ve gone home with injuries. This has been a fairytale podium. To have my little brother Jacob in second and our good mate Rod Faggotter in third, I just couldn’t have asked for more!”
Jacob Smith: “Obviously I race to win and I would have liked to win this time, but it was Todd’s turn this year – he rode an immaculate race. All the work that I put in on and off the bike this year has paid dividends. Rod (Faggotter) joked when he and I were at the start line on Leg 2 behind Todd that it would be brilliant if we finished in this order. I would have liked it if some of the other title contenders made it to the end, but we know that this race is rarely won on in the last day or two. The Safari is normally won in the first four days so I can easily say that Todd put himself in the perfect position early on and made all the right choices from that point onwards. I’m immensely proud of the way he ran it and that we could go one-two. With Rod in third, I really couldn’t share this with two finer blokes. After everything that has happened with passing of Glenn Hoffmann’s father, there’s no better way to give him, his family and the GHR crew a lift.”
Comment from Glenn Hoffmann:
“This month has been an emotional roller coaster for my family. However, in terms of the team this result has been really, really good for everyone. The boys controlled this race from the very beginning and I saw a level of maturity that shows just how much they have grown. They played the game but always kept some in reserve, and they worked together. I’d like to point out that everyone did this without me. Obviously I wasn’t there, but this result has proven that I don’t need to be. They all knew what they had to do and they followed through with it perfectly. I’d spoken to Jake Young three weeks before and I had asked him to be team manager in anticipation of things happening at home so when the time came I left town not at all concerned. My wife Linda and I do so much work on this before the event, but once it’s actually started I’m the least important person. That’s the way we’ve set it up – the mechanics all know their roles. As part of the growth planned for this company I do need to step back and rely on my crew, so to have everything work so well was no surprise. With this core group, if we can get the funding then there is huge potential for us overseas.”
GHR rider placings at race end:
1st – #2 Todd Smith – 27:35:27
2nd – #6 Jacob Smith – 27:55:31
10th – #27 David Geeves – 31:01:12
13th – #35 Charlie Ball – 33:51:06
20th – #40 Stuart Bowen – 37:22:32
21st – #25 Don Lark – 37:38:40