Off Road

Damien Grabham overcomes dramas to win Australian Safari prelude

Author: Garry Morrow

Posted:

Damien Grabham has won the Yellow Mountain Cross Country event - which is regarded as the Australian Safari prelude - which was run over the weekend of the 4th and 5th of August in the heart of NSW between Condobolin and Tottenham. Based around the same format as the Finke desert race the event attracts hundreds of riders with the maximum number being 200 riders the organisers had to knock back about 200 more as the event was full with two weeks before close of entries. The prologue is held on the Saturday morning before the first rider leaves at 11 o'clock for the 3 to 4 hour journey which is 220 kms from Condobolin to Tottenham before the overnight stop at Tottenham and than the return leg on Sunday back to Condobolin for the finish of the event and a total race distance of 440 kms. After a near miss with a fence Grabham qualified in second position through the prologue. "I lined up for the start of the race in second position behind some guy i did not know, and he did not know how he was first, but any way the race started and riders left every 30 seconds," Grabham said. "I after about 5 minutes i had caught and past the guy who had started first and i lead the race until the second fuel stop which was about 140kms into the race at which time Jacob Smith passed me while i was fuelling up. He had about a 30 second lead so i gave chase and caught him back up in about 5kms. we then battled with each other for the last 65kms before he had some fuel issues and i was able to cruise to the finish of day one with a handy 3 minute lead." "I felt i could easily hold my lead but on the return journey disaster struck when i hit a tree and ripped half my muffler from the rear of my YZF450, the thing sounded like an old tractor and i still had 150kms of racing before the finish. I decided to just keep going and see what happens and then about 10 kms later while doing about 130 kph a kangaroo decided it liked the look of me and came straight at me like a kamikaze, luckily while i had my eyes closed i went straight over the top of it and was saved by my steering dampener after doing 10 head shakes for the next 500 meters so. After surviving that scare i made the second fuel stop and after leaving there my bike ran out of rear brakes so once again something to test me, so for the next 70 kms i had to just cruise and then my rear mousse tube collapsed with about 10kms before the finish so i was glad when i finally seen the finish line and i had still finished first outright and first in the 450 class so i was pretty stoked," Grabham ended Emerging Yamaha talent Jacob Smith proved he is no one hit wonder when the Condo 750 winner logged a solid second outright and second in the 450 class. Smith's team manager Gary Williams said he was incredibly pleased with Jacob‰Ûªs progress and predicted the emergence of a new star in the sport. ‰ÛÏThe weekend went very well, if it hadn‰Ûªt been for a slight miscalculation in the amount of fuel we needed then I have no doubt Jake would have absolutely smoked the competition ‰ÛÒ he showed this outright speed on the Sunday morning and was by far the quickest guy out there,‰Û

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