|Australasian Safari: Dakar Challenge won by South African Brett Cummings.|
Eight riders from around the world came together in outback Western Australia last week with a common goal - to win the "Australasian Safari - Dakar Challenge" and a free entry to Dakar 2013.
The competition was won by South African rider Brett Cummings who took the lead at Leg 6 after Vern Strange, who held the lead for the first five legs, out with mechanical issues in Leg 6. Brett led the final two legs, finishing a convincing 3 hours 23 minutes ahead of the other Dakar Challenges.
The Dakar Challenge is a race within a race. Eight riders entered the Dakar Challenge fighting for a free entry into the world's toughest motorsport event. The "Australasian Safari" was an eight-day marathonrally this year, 115 competitors started, and 92 crossed the finish line on Saturday.
It was a huge achievement for Cummings in his first marathon event, finishing fourth outright. After crossing the finish line in the coastal port town of Geraldton in Western Australia today, Cummings said, "I'm really happy that I've been able to maintain the pace over the seven days. I was uncertain how I would progress over the course of the event."
Cummings added that he was really relieved to finish the event in fourth outright as the time difference entering Leg 7 today was quite tight after he received a 45-minute penalty yesterday.
Cummings planned to enter Dakar with or without the win, but did not yet have all the funds required and said the free entry would greatly assist financially as well as providing him with more exposure and credibility to attract additional sponsors.
"Winning the Dakar Challenge will make it easier to get sponsors, will lighten the load and bring down the target of what we need to raise," Cummings said. "I have to thank the GHR Honda team - they are the best team I could have ever have done the Australasian Safari with and I am so looking forward to going to Dakar with them."
Chris Evans ASO Dakar Correspondent for Australia who was in Western Australia for the finish of the Australasian Safari said he was really pleased the Dakar Challenge created so much interest in the competition. "I'm delighted there was so much enthusiasm for the Dakar Challenge and after a good fight we have a worthy winner," Evans said.
Justin Hunt, Event Director for the Australasian Safari said he was pleased the event was recognised by ASO Dakar. "It's been a great for us to be able to give young riders the chance to participate in the Dakar rally. We're really pleased for Brett and the opportunities this will provide him."
The Australasian Safari was selected as one of only four feeder events for the world's most extreme and legendary off-road motorsport race. Over the past eight days, competitors have tackled beach runs, sand dunes, rocky creek beds, claypans, farmland, cattle stations, tight scrub, and trees.
2012/09/29 | 12:51 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/PITTAWAY