Safari 2011 – Leg 3


26.9.11 – Safari Leg 3 wrap up

SS5 and SS6 made Leg 3 a long and brutal day for the all competitors. Repairs and servicing are continuing into the night at the Laverton bivouac.

Stage lengths
SS5 Altona 242.70km
SS6 Darlot 317.94km

Damien Grabham was fastest in SS5, followed by Cyril Despres, Matthew Fish and then GHR riders Todd Smith and Jacob Smith. The bikes were serviced, fuelled and sent on their way for SS6 which included a mid stage refuel at Nambi. Todd Smith fired down the fence that terminated at the refuel point well clear of brother Jacob who had crashed heavily but was still the second to arrive. Jacob’s tumble over the bars left him with an injured foot, but he wasted no time remounting his machine after cleaning his goggles and taking on fuel at the stop.

Yamaha rider Shane Diener was fastest in SS6, followed by Todd Smith, Rod Faggotter Jacob Smith and Ben Williams. Frenchman Cyril Despres also finished down the order for SS6 in 10th for the stage.

All other GHR riders made it through the day which saw a number of medical evacuations and mechanical failures, including last year’s winner Ben Grabham out of contention with an engine failure, and #3 KTM rider Matt Fish ride into refuel with his rear tyre around his waist.


Top 6 overall at the end of Leg 3 as follows:
1st – Todd Smith – 12:47:10
2nd – Jacob Smith – 12:57:49
3rd – Shane Diener – 13:01:35
4th – Rod Faggotter – 13:10:27
5th – Damien Grabham – 13:26:27
6th – Cyril Despres – 13:31:27

Other GHR rider overall placings:
10th – David Geeves – 14:50:58
16th – Don Lark – 15:58:01
21st – Charlie Ball – 16:44:28
27th – Glen Grundy – 18:50:42
29th – Stuart Bowen – 19:36:05

Rider comments:

#2 Todd Smith: “Today was a great day. I just cruised in the first special and didn’t take risks knowing it was a long day. The second selective stage was more difficult especially since I rode most of it with no rear brakes. Again, finding the way was hard but they were fast tracks. I couldn’t hear anyone behind me so I slowed down to ensure that I didn’t miss any calls. The lack of mistakes certainly made up for my slower riding. I’m very happy.”

#35 Charlie Ball: “This was my first big day. You really need to prepare for these ones with plenty of food and water. You need to prepare for anything, even getting lost. Even though today was supposed to be more flowing, there was plenty to contend with for someone in my position in the field. Many of the tracks were sandy, but we had a bit of everything.”


26.9.11 – Leg 3 update from refuel

All GHR riders have been in to refuel. Todd Smith came in first in good shape and his only issue was his rear brakes were finished. Jacob was in next – he’s had a tumble over the bars but fueled up and got moving quickly. Yamaha rider Shane Diener was in next followed by Cyril Despres and Damien Grabham rounding up the first 5 arrivals.

Matt Fish came in with his rear tyre mounted around his waist and will incur a penalty for mounting a new tyre and mousse. We are also told that Ben Grabham has a blow engine and is stuck mid selective.

There have been at least another dozen riders and a couple of quads in too. Craig Lowndes and one of the Coconut Resort cars has arrived, so the rest of the moto competitors will have been passed by at least two cars.

More as it comes to hand.

GHR Honda, internet in the outback!

The GHR refuel vehicle is currently set up at the Nambi splash and dash point for Leg 3, connected to the world via satellite communications provided by Allsatphones. The service crew are carrying two Inmarsat satellite handsets and use of a Thrane & Thrane BGAN Explorer 500 base unit for data and voice.

We hope to keep you all posted on the action from the day when the boys all come in for refuel. They are not expected for some time yet.

Stay tuned!

26.9.11 – Safari Leg 3

Todd and Jacob rode out of camp to the bivouac departure point just before 7.00am and the other riders were warming up their bikes shortly after. Thankfully, Stuart Bowen is up and about, walking normally on a bandaged foot and is a definite starter for the day. The rest of the GHR support vehicles began to head off to their various destinations at 7.20am. The start times have all been brought forward 30 minutes this morning, giving the competitors an earlier start on what will be a very long and potentially decisive day. Reportedly the course will be a more open, faster flowing pair of selective with a service in the morning at Agnew and a refuel at Nambi. The day’s bivouac will be in Laverton.