A beach dash along the Indian Ocean from Kalbarri to Geraldton in Western Australia he finale of the seven-day off-road motor marathon Australasian Safari, Australias toughest motorsport event.
Every competitor who crossed the finish line was a winner for completing a gruelling seven days of competition covering approximately 2,500 competitive kilometres off-road on beaches, through sand dunes, over creeks, rocky riverbeds, claypans and cattle and sheep stations.
The adventure started on a rare night of bad weather at Hillarys Boat Harbour. Gale force wind and heavy rain did not stop the competitors placing their vehicles on display and the crowd coming out to watch. The next day saw the Prologue run at Glengarry Station. This is a mixture of shakedown and qualifying, where the results set the start order for Leg 1. Leg 1 started on the north end of Coronation Beach and then went inland along the banks of the Murchison River and through the Murchison Off Road complex. After a night in Kalbarri, the Safari went north to Carnarvon. The double overnight stop in Carnarvon saw the competitors head north through Quobba, Gnaraloo and Warroora Stations all of which run along the magnificent Ningaloo Reef. Leaving Carnarvon, the vehicles travelled inland and came down the Khyber Pass, a name given to the rugged west side of the Kennedy Ranges. Leg 5 saw the longest stage of the Safari at 301km, a Stage that Dakar regular Geoff Olholm nominated as best Stage of the event.
Gascoyne Junction played host the Safari for two nights. Competitors, crews, officials and media alike enjoyed the experience of setting up camp on the oval of the town that suffered devastating floods in 2011 and which is gradually being rebuilt.
Leg 6 saw the whole Safari head south to Kalbarri. Then on Leg 7 back to Geraldton for the Official Finish.
Outright winners were:
MOTO Jake Smith (Honda), Warren Strange (Honda), Heath Neville (KTM)
AUTO Hederics/Weel (Holden Colorado), Herridge/Hill (Subaru Forrester), Park/Newbon (Toyota Hilux)
QUAD Paul Smith (Honda), Heath Young (KTM), Neville Yeatman (Can Am)
Dakar Challenge winner Brett Cummings.