|Australasian Safari: The true test has arrived for Safari 2010 competitors.|
Hundreds of motorsport fans came out to farewell the 100 auto drivers, moto and quad riders last night as they commenced the ultimate offroad endurance challenge - the Australasian Safari. Competitors were relaxed as they chatted with enthusiasts who had the chance to see the colourful bikes, cars and quads while they were still in pristine condition.
But the relaxation and top vehicle condition ceases today with the first day of Australasian Safari.
A convoy of competitors and about 400 support crew, officials, media, family and friends travelled the 370km from Perth to the historic eastern wheatbelt town of Southern Cross for the Prologue Day, where competitors have their first offroad challenge.
But it¹s hardly a gentle warm up. The short 19.34km stage will quickly sort out driving and navigation skills with tight and twisting scrub, and a stretch of dirt driving along an old farm fenceline. They¹ll then hit rough gravel, more low scrub and some deep rutted ground and washaways will be thrown in before making it to the finish.
This is the first day for competitors to test themselves in earnest as as their results determine the start order for Leg One on Sunday (19 September).
Driving conditions are perfect with clear blue skies and a maximum of 17°C in the height of the wildflower season. Today¹s Safari leg will reveal who are strong contenders, but there is a long week ahead.
Considered one of the world¹s 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.
2010/09/18 | 13:50 CET | EDITOR: MR/HS/PITTAWAY