Hederics makes the most of the bush and beach at Safari
John Hederics in a Holden Colorado has won the opening leg of the Australasian Safari from Geraldton to Kalbarri in Western Australia.
Hederics and co-driver Kees Weel topped the leaderboard with Geoff Olholm and co-driver Gordon Trigg just 13 seconds behind and the Venezuelan team of Nunzio Coffaro and Daniel Meneses who are one minute 62 seconds behind the leaders.
Hederics said the final stage was tough. They got through the beach and managed to get back in the lead by the end of the day.
“On the beach there wasn’t a lot to gain but there was a lot to lose so we took it pretty easy,” said Hederics.
“Stage 3 was rough and challenging and we were passed by car 102 – they were flying – but we passed them again on Stage 3 when they got a flat tyre.”
Geoff Olholm said the day was tough but tempered with the scenery.
“The beach was beautiful but tough, in fact the whole day was,” said Olholm.
“Stage 2 was really exciting with lots of sandy dunes and navigating was hard on Stage Three. We just had to get through it and keep the car safe.”
Bruce Garland was happy to be placed fourth.
“Today was fantastic. I loved the scenery, particularly the beach,” said Garland.
“Stage 2 was a bit tougher – we had a hose come off the turbo so we lost a bit of power but Stage Three was great for us, despite getting caught in Kerry Turley’s dust.”
It was an action packed start in the motos with last year’s winner and Dakar Challenge favourite Todd Smith out of contention to win after breaking a crank shaft. He is expected to start tomorrow but with a significant time penalty.
Brother Jake Smith had better luck.
“The beach was cool and I managed to keep away from the water,” said Jake Smith.
Finishing just 40 seconds after Jake, Warren Strange literally hit the waves.
“I got too close to the waterline and had a wave wash over me but the rest of the Leg was uneventful and the bike continued to perform well,” said Strange.
The Dakar Challenge has been opened up with Russell Scoble also having mechanical issues in Stage 2. The fastest Dakar Challenge finisher at the end of Leg 1 was West Australian Vern Strange who is back racing in Australasian Safari after a four-year break. South African rider Brett Cummings is next in line, just two minutes behind.
Leading the Quads is first-time Safari competitor Darren Bushby, followed by Safari veteran Paul Smith.
Here are the video highlights of the opening Leg