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This is the single-news section of the marathonrally.com news "Offroad & Motorsports". To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.









Australasian Safari: US-Star Josh Hall posts strong results.




The Australasian Safari Rally through western Australia is unfolding as a fun, challenging and rewarding rally for Josh Hall, Thad Stump and the H2 SUT team. After problems in the beginning including mechanical issues and timing out in a deep bog from the recent rains, the team redeemed themselves by running two excellent days virtually trouble free.

Hall posted the second fastest time on Leg 3 and the third fastest on Leg 4. There are three days of racing remaining and although the dynamics can change quickly, the team's morale has been boosted by the latest success. Given the fact the team is new to this format of racing, they are proving to be formidable competitors.

Although the field is not large, the competitors are tough, talented and seasoned. A few standouts are Bruce Garland, a past Safari winner who finished 11th outright in this year’s Dakar. Former V8 Supercar driver Paul Weel is piloting a Holden Colorado with his father, an experienced Safari Rally competitor. Steve Riley was the 2008 Safari Auto champ and is running strong in a Mitsubishi Pajero.

The H2 SUT is entered in an "Invitation Class" as it is running a 6.2L engine. The CAMS rules normally don’t allow vehicles over 6.0L engines to be considered in the competitive hunt.

While the team was well received by the rally and media, competitors and the off-road rally community viewed it as little more than an oddity compared to the small rally trucks. The general consensus was the H2 would not be fast enough to be a competitive threat and too big to be nimble on the tight course. As described by the truck’s new owner, Australian Greg Knowles, "The critics seem to be silenced. General curiosity has given way to real interest by the competitors and I couldn’t be happier with results."

Quotes Josh Hall, Driver: "I am definitely enjoying this type of racing, not only from the adventure aspect but from the competition standpoint. There are very experienced teams here and you just can’t make mistakes. Simple mistakes can cost you a stage, and errors early in the day can cost you an entire Leg."

"Some specific differences that I’ve enjoyed and found helpful is the fact we can talk directly to competitors through our race radio. It can build camaraderie and also helps from a safety standpoint. Combined with the entire feeling of the event and the professionalism of the organizers and racers - this is off-road racing at its finest."

Quotes Thad Stump, Navigator: "My job is really tough and keeping my concentration is critical to the results. Essentially, I am constantly telling Josh where to look which is quite different than my role as co-driver back home. The verdict is out on what I prefer. I have to work very hard mentally and the nights are late reviewing and marking the pace notes."

As opposed to the issued road books, Stump is using scrolling pace notes the motorcycle competitors use and seems to prefer the method. Josh noted "Thad is doing a tremendous job. This is his first go at traditional rally navigation and definitely he has proven himself quickly given our past two days of racing."

Quotes Josh Ogg, Mechanic: "Beyond our standard nightly prep, we have been focusing on special attention to brakes and steering components. However, it has been easier on us given the smooth course compared to what we normally encounter racing. It has also been a much more manageable pace for the support team and good to get sleep each night at the bivouac."

2009/08/06 | 13:21 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Emily Miller






















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