Rod Faggotter regained his Moto lead on Leg 3 of the Australasian Safari, while Todd Smith moved to second place after experiencing some drama. Matt Fish put in a strong performance and is sitting third overall.
Western Australia’s Gascoyne was the scene for 432 hard competitive kilometres of racing in two stages of racing in Leg 3 (sponsored by Rent-A-Sat Phone). Leg 3 of Australasian Safari circumnavigated the vast Bidgemia and Gascoyne Stations, and included fast flowing rally roads, an overgrown run, flood damaged river plains with sandy creeks and river crossings. After a spectacular crossing of the Gascoyne River, competitors tackled rocky ranges, gutters, and rough creeks that forced them to pay close attention to the roadbook.
It was a challenging day for Australasian Safari’s medical team, as Leg 3 is the most remote part of the event. All injuries reported to the medical team were from Moto competitors, and experienced Safari competitor Warren Strange was airlifted by Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) to Perth as a precaution, after he crashed his bike early in the first stage. The RFDS was on site within three hours, and Strange is in a serious but stable condition.
Faggotter said he was happy to be back in the lead. “I really pushed it along today trying to keep the ride smooth,” Faggotter said. “I had no navigation errors and my only issue was windburn. The bike is going smooth, sweet as a nut.”
Smith didn’t have such a smooth day, coming off his bike in the second stage. “I damaged my front wheel, map reader and handlebars 130 kilometers into the second stage,” Smith revealed. “It also popped the fuel cap and I lost fuel when I was riding, so for 50 kilometers I had to ride at quarter throttle.”
Despite having stitches in his forehead, Matt Fish was in good spirits and finished second in the second stage; he sits in third outright. “I tipped the bike over, and the ‘safety’ goggles cut my forehead,” Fish recounted. “The terrain was very challenging and unforgiving today, but I’m happy.”
Shane Diener had a strong day finishing in outright fourth and continues to hold the Dakar Challenge lead. “I’m pretty happy with today,” Diener said. “I had to stop in the first stage to fix the tension in my wheel and lost about four minutes. I overshot a few turns and missed a corner, but didn’t have any other navigation errors. Today’s long second stage was really challenging to push through and do that distance without a break.”
The Australasian Safari is a seven-day endurance race that sees competitors travel mainly off-road tracks through the outback of Western Australia, running from September 20-27, 2013. The event is known as one of the toughest and most challenging motorsport events in the world. This year’s course is approximately 3200 kilometers through Western Australia. The Western Australia Government sponsors the Australasian Safari through Eventscorp, a division of Tourism WA.
Results: Australasian Safari Leg 3 – Top 10
1. Rodney Faggotter – 11:22:00
2. Todd Smith – 11:30:49
3. Matt Fish – 11:43:17
4. Shane Diener – 11:56:55
5. Lee Stephens – 12:20:23
6. Alister McRae – 12:22:24
7. Russell Scoble – 12:37:17
8. Ryan Ingram – 13:02:34
9. Troy O’Connor – 13:17:09
10. Ivan Erceg – 13:29:14
Photography by Sabine Albers and Keith Hedgeland