Australia’s toughest offroad event, the Australasian Safari 2012 has been run and won again by GHR Honda’s Jacob Smith aboard his CRF450X.

Two short beach stages concluded the approximately 3,500 competitive kilometres and brought the field south to Geraldton. 24 year old Jacob Smith dominated from day 1 and never looked back until the race finish. With one previous win and multiple podiums, Jacob’s experience and a cool head allowed a measured ride from the very beginning and by the end of the race his 31 minute lead had become unassailable.

Jacob Smith: “It’s a weird feeling this time around. I’ve been in this position before but I really wanted to do it for myself this year after missing the gig to Dakar. I haven’t had the best season to my standards this year and a lot of people have been talking about my form. I had a point to prove this week and I believe I could have done it no matter who was here. I had no issues, no crashes, this bike did everything it was supposed to and at the end of the race I feel great. It’s really satisfying this year.”

Following Jacob into second place is 47 year old veteran rider Warren Strange who had approached this race as a testing ground for his GHR developed CRF450X Dakar Rally bike before his second attempt at Dakar next year. Despite his policy of not taking risks, Strange finished over one and half hours ahead of third place.

Warren Strange: “I’ve done this event before but this is by far my best result. I feel like I got lucky this year with some absentees who’d normally be standing where I am but the bike was beautiful to ride and made all the difference.”

South African rider Brett Cummings (29) finished in fourth place overall, but importantly took out the Dakar Challenge – a sub-category victory at Safari which will pay his entry to the 2013 Dakar Rally. It’s an especially pleasing result for Cummings after he was unable to start Safari last year through injury, making this is his first multi-day navigational event.

Brett Cummings: “Today I was supposed to be taking it easy but you can’t ride slow in the sand. I had a big crash in the second stage today but I’m fine. The whole event was awesome. I learned so much coming to this race. Todd and Jake (Smith) gave me a lot of advise and the organisation and people were wonderful. I’m so pleased I came back.”

Compatriot Guy Henley placed ninth overall and put a fourth GHR Honda CRF450X in the top ten. Also from South Africa is journeyman Glen Grundy (48) who successfully conquered Safari after bowing out due to injury last year. 2011 Safari title holder Todd Smith also finished but was way down the order in last place due to time penalties.

In the quad division, Paul Smith had stamped his authority on the race early on and finished on his Honda TRX700XX more than an hour ahead of his nearest rival.

Paul Smith: “I was supposed to be taking it easy today but I cleaned up a sheep on the beach! I pulled over and picked him up, moved him to the bush and watched him run off. But I did it. Today was pure just enjoyment and I’m ready for the second week. Can we go again?”

Team owner Glenn Hoffmann brought his prototype buggy home in 17th place amongst the auto division in the vehicle’s Safari debut.

Glenn Hoffmann: “It’s been a great event for GHR. The results are superb and having the new bike bike come second with a client is very pleasing. Yes it’s been unfortunate for Todd but I guess it was just Jake’s turn this year. Paul did his thing and topped the quads and the buggy went well. Personally the course was enjoyable and from a team point of view we couldn’t has asked for more without getting greedy and taking all three. But that’s motorsport!”

Final results for GHR:

1st – #2 SMITH Jake – 24:56:25
2nd – #7 STRANGE Warren – 25:27:11
4th – #8 CUMMINGS Brett (D) – 28:39:18
9th – #23 HENLEY Guy – 29:06:08
21st – #22 GRUNDY Glen (D) – 38:00:25
27th – #1 SMITH Todd (D) – 50:58:27

1st – #92 SMITH Paul – 30:52:19

17th – #178 HOFFMANN Glenn – 43:14:40

Tonight the riders all get to relax and reflect on another year at Safari. It’s been a very successful event for the team and is the fifth time in six Safaris that Honda bikes have won the event.