LEG 1 – Setting the scene for a week of off-road action

It was a day of highlights and lowlights for Leg 1 of the Australasian Safari. Sand traps, tricky twisting navigation and rugged terrain in three stages in and around Northampton and Kalbarri in Western Australia.

Last year’s moto winner Jake Smith had his plans for a follow-up Safari victory shattered in the last portion of Leg 1. After winning both the first and second stages by nearly a minute, engine failure in the last stage forced him to stop. Brother and former Safari winner Todd Smith finished the Leg in second place, and said despite a slow start he had finished well. “The first stage was really sandy and soft and the front wheel sunk. I came off and it took me a little while to get my flow back. Later on I had to slow down for some sheep but the rest of the ride was smooth.” He starts 455 km of Leg 2 second on the road.

GHR standings at end of Leg 1
2nd place: #4 SMITH, Todd – 02:58:34
16th place: #8 BALL, Charlie – 03:30:40
30th place: #14 McDONALD, John – 04:04:23

Leg 2 promises to be another testing day for the moto field. Three selectives cover a wide variety of terrain, with tight sections interspersed between flat-out fence line dashes.

SS2/1 Kalbarri – 230.00km: Opens with 50km of defined coastal tracks over mixed terrain, heading north through Murchison Station before turning inland. Fence line tracks cut into low scrub pass through Nerrin Nerrin and Coburn Stations. 25 km of the “Snake Road” leads to the Hamelin Service Area.

SS2/2 Gladstone – 110.89km: Low lying bay country between Hamelin Pool and the North West Coastal Highway hosts SS2/2. Highly variable tracks – sandy in places, rough and rocky elsewhere and occasionally swampy – cross Hamelin, Carbla, Yaringa and Wooramel Stations.

SS2/3 Jimba Jimba – 113.77km: The last selective starts on Pimbee Station with a narrow tight rally road heading east towards the old Pimbee Homestead site. The course then turns northwards along a twisty rally road, deviates east briefly and turns north once more into dune country. The stage closes with a mixed bag of tight twisty tracks, narrow fence tracks and low creek country.