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Smith’s still in control as Diener suffers a mechanical at Australian Safari Leg 5

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Leg 5 of the Australian Safari between Laverton and Leonora was a fateful day for many more of the moto competitors.

It was the first marathon leg of the Safari, where no team servicing is permitted and the riders must be self sufficient to solve mechanical problems.

Yamaha mounted Shane Diener led out of the gate this morning for the 86.08km road section to the SS10 Minigwal stage, followed by GHR riders Jacob Smith and Todd Smith.

Through the 215.35km stage held on fast station tracks Diener set impressive pace at the front, and gained time on the Condobolin brothers. However, following the mid-leg refuel, Diener was rendered immobile by mechanical issues during the 164.24km SS11 Yundamindra stage.

The Yamaha team is yet to inspect the bike but plan on getting it back up and running for Diener to continue on in the event, all be it with the maximum penalty and no chance of an overall win. Diener, while devastated by the incident, has shifted focus and is now out to win as many stages on the run home in the final few days.

"I'm not sure what happened out there. Everything was running great and I was making up time at every check point but something has happened and the guys are trying to get to the bottom of it now," Diener explained.

"With the overall win now out of the equation, the only thing I can go for is stage wins and get as many of those as I possibly can."

"I'm disappointed but that's the way it goes sometimes and I'm sure we will fight on until the end," the South Australian concluded.

This returned the Condobolin brothers to the top two positions overall and Yamaha rider Rod Faggotter moved into third.

"Nothing to report here," Faggotter joked. "I'm just putting in the hours and getting the job done although it is frustrating not being able to race at full speed."

"My aim now is to lock down a podium position for myself and the team so I am focused on getting through safely and making no silly mistakes."

Knowing that their competition was faltering, both the Smith brothers rode the rest of the day with self preservation first and foremost on their minds.

There were some who came to grief and the helicopters were kept busy with medical evacuations. Sadly, the Safari is over for South African, Glen Grundy who crashed in ruts and fractured his clavicle.

The first selective this morning was a rerun of a stage from 2009 I think, and it was just as hard as last time. The second stage had plenty to catch you out and once I saw Shane was out I definitely slowed down and rode for a secure finish rather than a fast one," Todd Smith said.

Jacob Smith added, "Shane was definitely on a run today through that first section! I was going as hard as I dared, but he was too quick to catch and completely deserved to win that one. Later when I saw he'd had problems and stopped I backed right off."

Main Photo: Todd Smith

Overall Standings ‰ÛÒ After Day 5
1st Todd Smith - 21.06:07 (Honda)
2nd Jacob Smith - 21.18:21 (Honda)
3rd Rod Faggotter ‰ÛÒ 21.51:36 (Yamaha)
4th Cyril Despres ‰ÛÒ 22.17:25 (KTM)
5th Damien Grabham ‰ÛÒ 23.09:45 (Husaberg)
6th Ben Williams ‰ÛÒ 23.47:42 (Honda)
7th David Schwarz ‰ÛÒ 23.54:18 (Husaberg)
8th Russell Scoble ‰ÛÒ 24.33:52 (Honda)
9th David Geeves ‰ÛÒ 24.50:07 (Honda)
10th William Coole ‰ÛÒ 24.53:42 (Husaberg)

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