News 23 Sep 2010

Rally: Controversy surrounds Leg Four of Australian Safari

Jacob Smith was injured in the fourth leg of the 2010 Safari yesterday.

Jacob Smith was injured in the fourth leg of the 2010 Safari yesterday.

Leg Four of the Australasian Safari was a tight one in the moto division, clouded by controversy and finishing with the top four placings within 12 minutes of eachother.

Ben Grabham is currently in the lead by almost seven minutes ahead of Rod Faggotter, and nine minutes ahead of Todd Smith. Mathew Fish is also riding within the tight pack.

The top international competitor is currently Swedish competitor Annie Seel currently in 16th position of a field of 40.

Classifications for Stage 10 in regards to the moto category are under review by the event organisers. This means that for now the start order for Leg 5 is based on the classifications at the end of Stage 9.

Last year’s winner Jacob Smith was the first bike out today from Coolgardie, but came into trouble in the second stage of the day, coming off his bike and requiring a helicopter transfer to Kalgoorlie Hospital with a suspected broken leg and injured shoulder.

The group of top riders following him, including his brother Todd, Grabham and Rod Faggoter stopped to assist him and a provision for compassionate time has been discussed by officials at the end of today’s racing.

The trio all stopped to assist the fallen rider and radio for help while Matt Fish headed for the nearest check point to notify officials. Grabham, Faggotter and Smith all spent nearly an hour with the downed Jacob Smith before rejoining the event in what was a huge show of respect and sportsmanship for their fellow competitor.

The issues then surfaced regarding the time of the four competitors of the section and also their starting order for the following sections for the remainder of the day.

The difficulty of the course is a double-edged sword for competitors. As hard as it is, most would not have it any other way.

Considered one of the world’s great endurance events, the Australasian Safari is travelling from Southern Cross in the wheatbelt through to the historic Western Australian goldfields, desert, rugged bush and coastal sand dunes, finishing at Esperance.

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