Rallye

Wild times in the wildflowers at Safari Day 1

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While dazzling to look at for tourists, the carpets of wildflowers in the Western Australian outback proved treacherous for competitors on Leg 1 of Australasian Safari.

Brothers Todd and Jacob Smith finished first and second fastest with two minutes between them, followed by Yamaha's Rod Faggotter and then KTM mounted Ben Grabham, who recovered after a trip over the handlebars.

Cyril Despres is sitting a respectable sixth fastest despite continuing difficulties with the language of the road books.

"This is quite a different race for me and reading the navigation is like a different language. I was not racing at 100 percent capacity today and it's also the first day."

Jacob and Todd had some friendly rivalry keeping each other at pace despite the overgrown tracks, which they both said were treacherous.

Faggotter hit the trail in red hot form this morning and led the motorcycle division after the first stage as he simply tore up the Western Australian countryside from Geraldton to Old Coach Station. Stage two saw him drop back a couple of spots when he got lost misreading the navigation sheets but now sits officially third on the road and is well placed after the opening day in what is shaping to be a long and tough event.

"Just like yesterday, I took things pretty calmly and just tried to ride with a good flow and not take any risks. To win the opening stage was a bit of a shock as I wasn't really pushing that hard and like most of the riders just trying to settle into the race as we have a long way to go," Faggotter said.

Ben Grabham said he was a bit sore but a Panadol at the refuel kept him going.

"Something happened when I was in first gear going through the grass. I wasn't liking the conditions today, you couldn't see anything in the long grass," he said.

Shane Diener finished a respectable seventh after coming off on a corner and getting lost a couple of times in the first stage.

"I had no real problems today other than a couple of opening day mistakes," Diener said. "I sorted out my concentration by the second stage and am being a bit more cautious after breaking both my wrists earlier this year."

Young English rider Sam Sunderland had another rough day in the Aussie outback, hitting a kangaroo and coming off his bike. He managed to get back on to reach the end of the stage but arrived disoriented and was seen by a medical team and given IV fluid. He hopes to start tomorrow.

Italian rider Manuel Lucchese had wheel damage 108km into the second stage.

Day two will take the competitors from on a 330kilometre trip from Mount Magnet to Sandstone and riders again expect to be on the bike for another four to five hours. With both Yamaha WR450F's running nicely, both riders will be looking to continue on from the good start made on day one.

Standings ‰ÛÒ After Day 1
1st Todd Smith (Honda)
2nd Jacob Smith (Honda)
3rd Rod Faggotter (Yamaha)
4th Ben Grabham (KTM)
5th Matt Fish (KTM)
6th Cyril Despres (KTM)
7th Shane Diener (Yamaha)
8th Damien Grabham (Husberg)
9th David Schwarz (Husaberg)
10th Garry Connell (Husaberg)

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