It was a sandy, flowing 10.86km course around the historic Glengarry Station that gave the Australasian Safari competitors their first taste of this year’s event.
Quinn Cody (USA) was the fastest rider in the Moto category, and was pleased with his first Safari outing.
“Prologue was fun. I didn’t take any chances, and I didn’t make any mistakes,” Quinn said.
“Bike was good. Didn’t have much time on it before the event, but I’m happy as far as that goes.
“I’m a bit nervous for tomorrow, I hear it is going to rain and I didn’t come prepared – so we’ll see.”
Last year’s Dakar Challenge winner, Shane Diener (AUS) was only one second behind the Baja champ, but at the moment is more worried about fellow Yamaha Desert Racing team mate Rodney Faggotter (AUS).
“My strategy for tomorrow is to keep Rod behind me, even if I have to drag my feet to make as much dust as I can,” said Shane.
“It feels different being on a bigger bike again, because I haven’t ridden this one since Condo. I’m also getting used to reading maps again.”
It was a comfortable ride for defending champion Rodney Faggotter.
“I feel like I’m settling in. At least I have someone to chase tomorrow,” said Rodney.
The fastest Dakar Challenge competitor was Cesare Zacchetti from Italy.
The quickest quad time was posted by last year’s champion Heath Young (AUS). He had a couple of navigational errors trying to find the site of the Prologue, but said he was straight into the groove once the stage started.
“Great day. We have a brand new quad, which I‘ve only ridden twice this year. I was a bit nervous, but haven’t done too badly despite missing a couple of gears,” said Heath.
“I’ll start fifth tomorrow, which will equal my best Leg One start order in 2009.
“Legend Quad Services have created an awesome quad, I just hope I can do it justice.”
It was Steve Riley (AUS) and John Doble (AUS) in the VF Holden ute that came out on top of the autos, despite struggling with a fused ankle foot injury.
“This drive was a lesson for us my ankle and I on how to get along together,” said Steve.
“We have a brand new car this year. We’re trying to do the Aussie ute thing, even built it from scratch with a few mates in my shed.
“I’m worried about being first out tomorrow. Being first out is often like looking for land mines with your big toe.”
West Australian duo Dave McShane and William Hayes were only four seconds behind the Riley Motorsports Holden, with the Holden Colorado of Tony Quinn (AUS) and Dale Moscatt (AUS) in chase.
It was the first proper drive of the Colorado for Tony, who said the car feels like a new girlfriend, that he hasn’t met the parents of yet.
“She’s alright. Needs a little work but it should be good – I hope,” said Tony.
It was a short day for some of the SxS competitors when a suspected fuel leak caused the UTV racing buggy entry to catch fire, causing an early close on the Prologue for the day. Both driver Stratford Voogt (SA) and co-driver Chantel Bester (SA) were able to escape with minor injuries.
The quickest time posted before the drama was that of Artic Wildcat driver Garry Connell. Garry said he feels the new vehicle went through its paces comfortably.
“Everything felt smooth. We were going along at 80%. First couple of days we plan to continue with this strategy. It’s a new car so we’ll let everything bed in. Then all going well we’ll give it a push and see what it really can do,” said Garry.
The Prologue Leg is proudly sponsored by Yamaha Motor Australia. For more information on Yamaha products please see their webpage www.yamaha-motor.com.au.
The Australasian Safari is known as Australia’s version of ‘Dakar’ and attracts top endurance motorsport competitors from around the world. Competitors embark on the seven day rally on September 19, and travel over 3,500kms through the Western Australian outback before crossing the finish line on Kalbarri Foreshore on September 27.
For more information on Australasian Safari and the latest results visitwww.australasiansafari.com.au. Updates are available on Facebook and Twitter at @austsafari and check out the video updates on our YouTube channel – AustralasianSafari.
The Western Australia Government sponsors the Australasian Safari through Eventscorp, a division of Tourism WA.