|Australasian Safari: GHR Honda team provides a Smith triple threat in 2012.|
Veteran of 12 Australasian Safari events Glenn Hoffmann has amassed a triple threat this year in his GHR Honda racing team with three Smiths racing - past moto winners brothers Todd and Jake, and past Quad champion Paul Smith.
Todd Smith won the Moto division in 2011 with brother Jake next to him on the podium in second place. Paul Smith was the Quad winner in 2010 and has competed in the past four Safaris and since the Quad division was introduced.
Also in the GHR Honda Racing team in 2012 are experienced Perth Safari competitor Warren Strange and South African riders Brett Cummings, Glen Grundy and Guy Henley. Grundy had his Safari debut in 2011 and Cummings and Henley will have their first experience in the West this year.
A past competitor who did his first Safari in 1987 at age 18, Hoffmann knows a thing or two about preparing for the event and is also getting the team ready for Dakar 2013.
"We’ve got a strong team for Dakar with Paul, Brett, Glenn and Warren gearing up to go along with at least one of the Smith brothers. The Australasian Safari’s Dakar Challenge opportunity will certainly help if one of the boys wins in September but there’s still a long way to go with flights, bike transport costs, service vehicles and mechanics," Hoffmann said.
"We follow all the same systems and procedures for Safari and Dakar but the difference in the two events is the huge length of the transports at Dakar. There’s actually more competitive hours of racing each day in Safari but the Dakar transports are a lot harder. I believe it’s designed to mentally wear you down."
Hoffmann said the Australasian Safari’s change in course locations for 2012 has not changed preparations for the GHR team. "If the course was just pure sand we might change the bike build but because there’s still a range of terrain we’ll keep the bikes consistent.
"Our guys will be on a new Honda 450X bike this year, which you can basically ride anywhere. We’ve added a lot of new parts and fuel tanks. They’re well set up for the event.
"It’s a specific Safari bike and its very similar to our Dakar bike but with some fundamental differences. We’re building a Safari spec and a Dakar spec bike as we believe there should be a difference."
GHR has also been working on Paul Smith’s quad. "We’ve done a lot of development on the Honda TRX700XX quad he raced last year with new parts. It’s coming together really well and it’s great to have him as part of the team."
Despite a GHR Honda being the winning bike in five of the past six Australasian Safaris and having winners of the past three Safaris on his team, Hoffmann isn’t getting complacent.
"Jake, Todd and Paul are more than capable of podiums again but in racing that’s by no means a given. They are still going to have to ride their butts off. We don’t take anything for granted and I don’t worry about who turns up at Safari from Australia or from around the world. We must focus on doing our own thing as a team. I’m very aware it can all turn to poo very quickly!" Hoffmann concluded with a laugh.
Now in its 27th year, the Australasian Safari runs from 21 to 29 September 2012. This year the event is taking a new coastal route in Western Australia, travelling from Perth north to Geraldton, up the coast to tropical Carnarvon - the southern gateway to the Ningaloo World Heritage Area - and inland through the Gascoyne region, skirting around the Kennedy Ranges before heading south again to finish in Geraldton.
The Western Australia Government supports the Australasian Safari through Eventscorp, a division of Tourism WA. For details on entry or to follow the event visit [ AUSTRALASIANSAFARI.COM.AU ]. Entries close 31 August 2012.
2012/07/19 | 00:27 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/JP