Leg 5 between Laverton and Leonora was a fateful day for many more of the moto competitors. It was the first marathon leg of the Safari, where no team servicing is permitted and the riders must be self sufficient to solve mechanical problems.

Yamaha mounted Shane Diener led out of the gate this morning for the 86.08km road section to the SS10 Minigwal stage, followed by GHR riders Jacob and Todd Smith. Through the 215.35km stage held on fast station tracks Diener set impressive pace at the front, and gained time on the Condobolin brothers. However, following the mid-leg refuel, Diener was rendered immobile by mechanical issues during the 164.24km SS11 Yundamindra stage. This returned the Condobolin brothers to the top two positions overall and Yamaha rider Rod Faggotter moved into third. Knowing that their competition was faltering, both riders rode the rest of the day with self preservation first and foremost on their minds.

There were some who came to grief and the helicopters were kept busy with medical evacuations. In an awfully ironic way, the Safari is over for South African Glen Grundy having been accidentally omitted from the standings posted for Leg 4. Glen has crashed in ruts and fractured his clavicle. He is to be flown to Kalgoorlie for assessment and possible treatment. The remaining 6 GHR bikes will all start tomorrow after end of day servicing.

Rider comments:

Jacob Smith: “Shane was definitely on a run today through that first section! I was going as hard as I dared, but he was too quick to catch and completely deserved to win that one. Later when I saw he’d had problems and stopped I backed right off.

Todd Smith: “The first selective this morning was a rerun of a stage from 2009 I think, and it was just as hard as last time. The second stage had plenty to catch you out and once I saw Shane was out I definitely slowed down and rode for a secure finish rather than a fast one.

Stuart Bowen: “I actually found today easier than previous days. I got stuck in some dust when Don Lark had finished his brakes and Annie Seel was hanging behind and looked like she didn’t want to pass. I decided I was safer out of their dust and went by. I’m just wanting to finish and it seems like a race of attrition at times! My folks are traveling with me which is great for support and certainly gives them a different kind of holiday.”

Overall top 5 at end of Leg 5:
1st – #2 Todd Smith – 21:06:07
2nd – #6 Jacob Smith – 21:18:21
3rd – #56 Rod Faggotter – 21:51:36
4th – #5 Cyril Despres – 22:17:25
5th – #72 Damien Grabham – 22:46:45

Other GHR riders:
10th – #27 David Geeves – 24:50:07
14th – #25 Don Lark – 26:15:08
16th – #35 Charlie Ball – 26:19:51
26th – #40 Stuart Bowen – 29:52:37