During the fourth leg of the 2011 Australasian Safari contest rider Shane Diener dominated all three stages aboard his Yamaha WR450. Ending the day more than three minutes ahead of Jacob Smith, Diener is now less than 11 minutes behind Todd Smith in the overall timesheets. Meanwhile Rod Faggotter remained in the top-five for the second day in a row despite sustaining a broken hand during Leg 2.
“Today was pretty fast and the navigation wasn’t too tricky,” said Diener. “We caught a bit of rain, there were pools of water on the track but this didn’t cause any problems. The bike is going well which helps!”
Riders were faced with the longest leg of the safari on Day 4 with three stages and a total of 662km. Covering Western Australia’s northern goldfields and the edge of the Great Northern Desert, riders faced sandy tracks at fast speeds. The day was especially fun for brothers Todd and Jacob Smith, who remain the frontunners in the competition as it passed the halfway mark.
“Today was fun, I enjoyed it,” Todd Smith said. “I like going fast. The only downside is it’s hard to increase lead-time when the navigation is easier. I’m happy to have a bit of a gap now that we’re over half way so I can ease off a bit.”
Current Dakar champion Cyril Despres moved up in the overall rankings to fifth after finishing Day 4 in seventh.
“This is not the race I was expecting and I am taking it like a training day – not pushing to ride as fast as possible,” said Despres. “I enjoyed the sandy tracks and was able to test the bike a bit.”
Tomorrow the competition heads south to Leonara, which is the penultimate stop for riders of the seven-day endurance race.
Australasian Safari Day 4 Results:
1. Shane Diener (Yamaha) 04:14:44
2. Jacob Smith (Honda) 04:18:01
3. Todd Smith (Honda) 04:18:47
4. Rod Faggotter (Yamaha) 04:24:52
5. Matthew Fish (KTM) 04:24:53
6. Sam Sunderland (Husaberg) 04:30:04
7. Cyril Despres (KTM) 04:34:47
8. Ivan Erceg (Honda) 04:37:46
9. Manuel Lucchese (Husaberg) 04:40:09
10. David Schwarz (Husaberg) 04:47:39
11. Ben Williams (Honda) 04:50:58
12. Damien Grabham (Husaberg) 04:51:12
13. Troy O’Connor (KTM) 04:55:44
14. William Coole (Husaberg) 04:57:02
15. Michael Heuchan (Husaberg) 04:59:15