Safari hopes dashed
Thursday, 22nd September, 2011
By John Casey
Leading BH motorsport competitor Kerry Turley is cursing his bad luck after he was forced to withdraw from the prestigious 2011 Australasian Safari which roars out of Perth tomorrow.
But the good news is that while he won’t be chasing victory across Western Australia he will now be able to concentrate on winning the inaugural ARB Silver City 600 being held in the BH area in November.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed about having to withdraw from the Safari, but that’s racing,” a philosophical Turley said.
“My Adelaide-based navigator, Naomi Tillett, has had to pull out with some personal issues and it was too close to the event to find a replacement.
“It was a hard decision to make, but the navigator plays a pretty important role and if the person sitting next to you isn’t switched on then safety becomes a real issue,” Kerry added.
Competitors in the Australasian Safari reach speeds approaching 200kp/h through the Western Australian outback.
This year the event begins in Perth and travels to Geraldton and through the northern goldfields, covering more than 3500 kilometres to the chequered flag in Kalgoorlie on Friday September 30.
After competing in the past three Australasian Safaris, Kerry Turley’s absence this year carries the added disappointment that it would have been the first time his family had been at the event to watch him compete.
“I have decided to still take the entire family over to WA and while it will be hard watching and not competing, the experience will just make me hungrier for success next year,” Kerry said.
“The kids were really looking forward to seeing me take on the likes of V8 Supercar legend Craig Lowndes and my team had the car in great shape, but it’s not the end of the world.
“Jonathon Oliver from Silver City 4WD had been working overtime to prepare the vehicle and I had no doubt we would have continued our 100 per cent finishing record since our debut effort in 2008,” Kerry continued.
Driving his 1996 Nissan Patrol, Kerry and his team finished fourth behind Lowndes last year and won their class. They were also acknowledged with a Safari Medal for being one of only six teams who finished every day and stage with no penalties.
Their best individual stage last year was the third leg where they finished outright second.
“Naomi and I were the youngest team competing in 2010 so there is still plenty of time for us to turn our dream of winning into reality,” an optimistic Kerry predicted.
“In the past Naomi has won Targa Tasmania, Targa New Zealand and many other big events and we have already shown we can mix it with the best in Australasia. With the added hunger we’ll have next year who knows what can happen.”
While the Australasian Safari is the biggest cross-country rally event on the domestic calendar, organisers are excited about the prospects of the inaugural ARB Silver City 600 to be held here on the weekend of November 5 and 6.
The rally will be based in BH and consist of eight stages, covering more than 600km. Up to 40 cars are expected to take part in two-wheel drive and 4WD classes.
Similar to the highly-successful ARB 4x4 Extreme which was held in the area earlier this year, the Silver City 600 will be based at the BH racecourse and tackle the demanding terrain on local properties in the vicinity.
Anyone needing more information on the ARB Silver City 600 can phone 0412-257-170 or go to the website crosscountryrally.com.au.