Safari no game park
Wednesday, 15th September, 2010
Local rally driving enthusiast Kerry Turley and a team of mechanics and navigators will be competing in the Australian Safari in Western Australia this week.
Turley, who is competing in the safari for the third time, equated the Australian Safari to the most gruelling off-road race in the world, the Paris-Dakar.
"It's basically the same as the Paris-Dakar. It's like the Dakar Down Under," he said.
While the Paris-Dakar traditionally ran from Paris (France) to Dakar (Senegal) the routes have varied in recent years.
This year Team Turley is sending a 6-person contingent for the Australian Safari; Kerry Turley will be the driver of the GQ Nissan Patrol entry and Deborah Turley is a member of the service crew and chef.
Jonathan Oliver is the head mechanic, who according to Mr Turley "fixes all the things we break from Broken Hill".
Jodie Kent is also a service crew member and nurse, while Adelaide's Naomi Tillett will be the navigator. Russell Jones, also from Adelaide, is a mechanic and truck driver.
"Naomi last year won the Targa Tasmania and Targa New Zealand outright ... hopefully this year we can get up there with the top bunch in the Safari," Turley said.
The safari is an eight-day race covering about 4000 kilometres.
"We race against other 4-wheel drives, motorbikes and 4-wheel quad bikes.
"Entrants come from USA, Japan, China, New Zealand, Brazil and South Africa," he said.
"Since last year's event we have rebuilt our current 2003 Safari-winning car and fitted a new Holden six litre V8 engine and a lot of other goodies.
"Jonathan from Silver City 4WD has done a great job and all our testing in the car has been very encouraging."
There is a lot of hype around this year's event with V8 super car driver Craig Lowndes driving a Holden V8 Colorado.
Craig Lowndes' car stopped in the city over the weekend on its way to Mildura for last minute testing before heading across the Nullarbor this weekend.
"Craig's navigator for this year's event is Kees Weel, owner of the Holden off road team," Kerry said.
"Kees is the original owner of my car so he helps out a lot with information and parts," said Turley.
Last year's safari was not without complications, according to Turley.
"Last year we qualified fourth in the prologue and came across five-time Australian Safari winner and Dakar star Bruce Garland stopped in the middle of the track.
"We hit him from behind in dust doing about 80 kilometres per hour and did a fair bit of damage to the car," he said.
"We soldiered on and finished the event in tenth outright," he said.
"For all the latest news and results on the team go to www.australasiansafari.com.au or go to our Facebook site and join up. Type in Team Turley.