In what proved to be a costly day for 9 Safari competitors, GHR Honda rider Jacob Smith consolidated his Leg 1 position to build a lead of just over 16 minutes over Matthew Fish. SS4 Kalbarri’s overgrown tracks tore at the riders as they navigated through 230km of coastal farmland to service at Hamelin. The riders found the 260km SS5 Wooramel River stage less punishing but nonetheless eventful. Warren Strange dropped down the order due to navigation and #22 South African rider Glen Grundy had a close encounter with another vehicle at speed.

Rider comments:

Jacob Smith: “It was too overgrown this morning for anything crazy. I kept it clean and safe so Shane (Diener) pulled 3 minutes or so on me. In the second stage at about the 40km he’d crashed and hurt himself. I rode alone at the front all day.”

Glen Grundy: “To summarise today, they gave us a lot of work for a Monday. 9 hours on the bike in total. At home we call this sort of terrain an “LSD” – long sandy drag. The only difference here was being whipped in the arms while doing it and it made it tricky to find a good rhythm. The afternoon was fast. I was shunted from behind at over 100kph but I think the driver got just as much of a fright as I did because he saw it all about to happen. Thankfully it all worked out fine.”

Brett Cummings: “I was getting beaten up in SS4, so I took it easy. SS5 I was doing well and caught 6th on road. At the 125km mark I got completely lost. With so few on the road in front I had little in the way of tracks to guide me. I finally worked it out and caught up with another group. When Guy Henley stopped I compared notes with him and verified where we were in the road book.”

Paul Smith: “I staked another tyre today with 150km to go. It also took out the balls, and because it was a rear I had to leave it and run on 3 legs so it wasn’t so comfortable. Still, I’m leading the quads so I’m happy.”

Glenn Hoffmann: “I had a good day today. I didn’t want to run out of fuel so I couldn’t drive as hard as I’d like. Still, looking at some of the damaged cars by the side of the road I’m fortunate all I had to worry about was fuel.

Tomorrow the field are in store for two stages of stunning coastline and sand dunes as they head north for the first splash and dash at Warroora. Service crews will meet the vehicles at Minilya before the racing starts again for the 198km Hayley stage.

Overall GHR class standings at end of Leg 2.

1st- #2 SMITH, Jake – 07:03:03
4th – #7 STRANGE, Warren – 07:22:15
8th – #10 JOHNSON, Michael (D) – 08:15:01
9th – #8 CUMMINGS, Brett (D) – 08:16:27
12th – #23 HENLEY, Guy – 08:31:34
26th – #22 GRUNDY, Glen (D) – 11:11:22

1st – #92 SMITH, Paul – 08:55:49

15th – #178 HOFFMAN, Glenn – BUGGY – 10:40:29