Not ready to bite the dust

Benalla Ensign - - Motorsport - By Ge­or­gia Smith

The idea of rid­ing close to 2000 km across red dirt for five days isn’t for ev­ery­one.

But for Swan­pool lo­cal Michael Burgess, it is just an­other day in the of­fice.

Burgess re­cently com­peted in the Sun­raysia Sa­fari Rally where he ex­pe­ri­enced the highs and lows of rac­ing in one of Australia’s big­gest nav­i­ga­tional off-road events.

After a me­chan­i­cal is­sue just 7.5 km into the first day, Burgess was al­lowed to restart on day two on his prac­tice bike but fate knocked him down again.

On day three, Burgess started at the back of the 40-rider pack, show­ing grit and de­ter­mi­na­tion to rise through the clouds of dust to ninth po­si­tion, clock­ing the fastest time through a sec­tion in stage three.

Day four ap­peared to start in his favour, be­fore a freak col­li­sion with an­other com­peti­tor re­sulted in a hole in Burgess’ mo­tor, sig­nalling the end of his sa­fari ad­ven­ture.

Burgess said de­spite the woes he faced dur­ing the event, he was still keen to give the dirt track an­other go next year.

‘‘It’s an awe­some event with a very laid back at­mos­phere,’’ Burgess said.

‘‘Un­for­tu­nately for us things didn’t go to plan but that’s rac­ing.

‘‘The week was not a com­plete loss, we learnt a lot and it was nice to show we have the pace to match it with the best in Australia.’’

Burgess is now in the process of pre­par­ing to com­pete in the Dakar Rally in 2020.

To aid his chances in get­ting there, Burgess will be hold­ing a goods and ser­vices auc­tion in Be­nalla dur­ing Novem­ber to raise funds for the Michael Burgess Des­ti­na­tion Dakar Team.

Twenty-five per cent of the auc­tion prof­its will also go to­wards droughtaf­fected farm­ers.

You can fol­low Michael’s jour­ney through his Face­book page Michael Burgess — Des­ti­na­tion Dakar.

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