|Australasian Safari: Reliability is key to Safari Rally Marathon days.|
Just in case the Australasian Safari wasn't already tough enough with seven days of off-road racing, event organisers have thrown in another challenge in 2010 with two back to back Marathon Days.
The riders and drivers competing in the Australasian Safari have gruelling days today and tomorrow with the Leg Two and Three being Marathon Days, where there are only two legs per day but they are long and difficult, and servicing of vehicles is extremely limited.
The course for Leg Two is 483.37kms, and 422.76kms of this is competitive stages, so there's no easy transports, and competitors should be travelling a bit more cautiously today because they cannot afford to have any mechanical failures.
The only servicing on vehicles allowed is a 30-minute Park Ferme at the end of the second competitive stage. Service crews can only provide bike covers, EZYUps, enviro mats, fuel, air filters, oil & oil filters. All other tools have to be carried by the rider or driver. For autos, all the spares must be carried in the car.
Clerk of Course Ron Rigby said the Marathon Days were introduced to move away from making the event about sprinting rather than rallying. "The limited servicing rule means that the mechanical skills of the drivers and riders are really tested."
There is a huge range of mechanical experience amongst the competitors. Some, like Darren Green and Wayne Smith in their Nissan Patrol are self-sufficient mechanics, and others, like Les Walkden, are first to admit they are not too crash hot with the tools. Craig Lowndes and co-driver Kees Weel have practiced the 30-minute service under controlled conditions.
2010/09/20 | 13:47 CET | EDITOR: MR/HS/PITTAWAY