The second stage of the Australasian Safari was a lot like a “Dakar-stage”. The organisers have put in this as a “dual marathon” where assistance during the day or evening service is not allowed. If you need assistance from your team or parts or tires, you get penalised 5 hours!
The stage was also tough like Dakar, 420 kms of special and really tough going with riverbeds and some grassy dunes. I set off in a normal rally pace, and was happy for the marathon challenge where smooth riding and saving your tires could benefit me. We rode in a very soft sandy riverbed, challenging with turns around rocks and low hanging tree branches. There I found my team mate Ze Helio, his bike didn’t run properly, but he would make it to refuel he said. Soon after that I took a plunge in the sand, trying to avoid some rocks in the river. I folded the front end and went over board. No damage, but I could feel my sore thumb got an impact, luckily nothing injured. This is exactly how I twisted the thumb in Dakar, in soft sandy riverbed… Scary.
Made it to refuel, and felt ok for the second half of the marathon. Again we jumped into the gnarly river, and now it was even more difficult with a fully refuelled heavy bike. I rode really carefully and stayed in the saddle. Then on to fast twisty rocky roads, just like Morocco – I could pace up and enjoy myself. Some much faster riders passed me and I wondered where they came from…
I couldn’t keep up with them, and stayed in my own rythm focusing on navigation. A very good decision. Some riders got it all wrong and I found them coming the wrong way. There had been a mistake in the roadbook, and we tracked the right route together. They again took off, and I could hear them roaring away on the fast straight after a gate we passed by a well. Me, I looked in the roadbook and turned left onto another track… they totally missed. So I was riding alone again, many times double checking the tricky navigation. All alone I arrived at the finish, moving up to 21st!!
So the turtle beat some of the rabbits!
Now I am 21st in general standings!
At the bivouac I had 30 minutes to service my bike, and I checked wheels, oil etc, changed air filter and fueld up before entering the Parc Fermé where the bikes spend the night.
I feel ready for tomorrows second day of marathon.