|Australasian Safari: Dakar-Veteran Garland eventually leads after Day 1.|
Dakar-Veteran Bruce Garland and his Japanese Navigator "Harry" Suzukli were tested by today's tight track in their Isuzu D-Max Diesel T1 but managed to finish provisionally fastest at the end of Leg One of Australasian Safari, nearly 3 minutes in front of the Australians Quinn/Fever in their V8-Mitsubishi Pajero and Green/Smith in their Nissan Patrol.
Bruce Garland was pleased with the day's racing, saying the DMAX was working well and he had no major damage and was now preparing for the two marathon legs ahead. 'I will certainly back off tomorrow, so we're set for Leg Three, after the maximum 30-minute service tomorrow night" said Garland. 'Its one thing to drive fast, but you also have to be capable of driving slower to get through the two-day marathon.'
Soft sand took out the clutches of two autos - field starter Geoff Olholm, who only made it 27 kms into the day, and Australian rally veteran Les Walkden who lost his clutch only 20kms later.
'Turley overtook us on one of the stages today and then we caught up to him. He got held up by Des Harrington who was caught behind the Dunns who had a mechanical problem. We got slowed down by their dust but we had great day and we're having fun. Our background is the winch challenge so the next two days should be good. "We don't have a big budget, but we're pretty self-sufficient so hopefully we think we can do most repairs with what we're carrying,' Darren said.
Leading the quads today was Colin Lawson on his Can Am Renegade 800, finishing less than a minute in front of Paul Smith on his Honda TRX700XX. Smith said he had a great day and thought it was the best Leg he had done on three years in the Safari. 'Out of all three years, today had everything, but it was 30 kms of hell at the end trying to navigate through the bush. I made it through and had an awesome day.'
Today's 356 competitive kms (579kms in total) from Southern Cross north east to Leonora provided a score of challenges including anthills, large sections of badly rutted dirt, salt lakes and a crossing of the Trans Australian Railway.
Considered one of the world's great endurance events, the Australasian Safari will travel from Southern Cross in the wheatbelt through to the historic Western Australian goldfields, desert, rugged bush and coastal sand dunes, finishing at Esperance.
2010/09/19 | 18:20 CET | EDITOR: MR/HS