Garland scores podium in comeback race

Bruce Garland has finished third in his comeback event outside Broken Hill

Australian Dakar Rally veteran Bruce Garland has finished on the podium in his first off-road race since fracturing a vertebra and having major heart surgery.

Garland and long-time navigator Harry Suzuki were third outright in the inaugural ARB Silver City 600 Cross Country Rally outside Broken Hill.

Steve Olholm and Gordon Trigg were first in a Mitsubishi Pajero with Darren Green and Wayne Smith second in a Mitsubishi Triton.

The Sydney-based duo has not raced since Garland fractured a vertebra during the Dakar Rally in Chile in January. Two months later he suffered a heart attack while on holidays in Melbourne and was operated on at MonashHeart, having five bypasses in the process. Since then he has been focussed on a ‘come back’.

“I’m not a star yet, but I’m definitely getting brighter,” said Garland.

“It was 40 degrees out there which meant about 48 degrees in the cabin, and that was a good test of everything – the tyres, the cooling system, and me. Everything we need to work right in the heat of a South American summer worked perfectly at Broken Hill!

“Some of the technical guys from Toyo Tyres came out with us and we did a lot of tyre testing over the weekend, and everyone’s happy with that. Obviously we would have liked to win, but in the scheme of things, finishing on the podium was a great result.”

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