Rallye

Grabham falters as Channing takes over the Safari lead

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A navigation error has cost event favourite Ben Grabham 18 minutes in time and the Australian Safari lead in today's third leg along the Western Australian north coast. After starting with a seven minute 17 second overnight lead, Grabham diverted around a mob of cattle in the opening stage of the day, missing a gate and straying off course. By the time the Bathurst Honda rider found his way to the first stage checkpoint, he had dropped to 26th place for the stage and third overall, 11 minutes and 15 seconds behind Adrian Channing of Broken Hill on his KTM 660 Rallye. Although Grabham hit back to take the remaining two stages of the day, he was only able to regain a few minutes of the lost time. He ended the day's 196 competitive kilometres nine minutes 31 seconds behind Channing and three minutes 57 seconds adrift of second placed Andrew Coaker of Coogee. Grabham rued his error on the opening stage. ‰ÛÏI messed it up today," Grabham said. "I made a silly mistake." "There were a couple hundred head of cattle at a trough, I gave them a wide berth instead of going among them and overshot a corner. A few other riders got caught on that too. I did an extra 30 kilometres which didn‰Ûªt help." ‰ÛÏIt‰Ûªs only early on in the event, there's plenty of time to make it up." ‰ÛÏIt just shows that it can happen to anyone." Channing was surprised at his lead when he crossed the line in Port Hedland. ‰ÛÏI didn‰Ûªt think I was that far in front," he said. ‰ÛÏIt was a fast and challenging course today, a few people got lost and I made up some good time." "That‰Ûªs excellent (the margin). It‰Ûªs a nice feeling to have the lead." Today's bone-jarring course took competitors through a wide range of Western Australian terrain, with competitors having to negotiate narrow sandy station tracks, mud flats, salt lakes and abandoned roads through rough creek beds and deep gullies. Tomorrow's fourth leg will take competitors from Port Hedland inland to the mining town of Newman. Top 10 bikes ‰ÛÒ After Stage 11, Day Three, Australian Safari (Provisional)
1, A CHANNING (NSW), KTM 660 Rallye, 05:22:00
2, A COAKER (NSW), Honda CRF 450X, 05:27:31
3, B GRABHAM (NSW), Honda CRF 450X, 05:31:28
4, S DIENER (SA), Kawasaki KLX 450, 05:36:20
5, J STREET (USA), Yamaha WR450, 05:38:44
6, J SMITH (NSW), Yamaha WR450, 05:39:48
7, M FISH (VIC), KTM 525 EXC, 05:52:14
8, D SCHWARZ (USA), KTM 690 Rally, 05:55:54
9, P NELLIGAN (NSW), KTM EXC 525, 06:03:49
10, A RIEMANN (SA), KTM 450EXC, 06:05:47

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