Garland on course despite setbacks
AUSTRALIA’S best-finishing Dakar entrant is on course for his Australasian Safari assault next month and his next Dakar in January with a second in the Asia Cross Country Rally.
Bruce Garland and Harry Suzuki, of Sydney, matched their second place in 2000 in the tough Asian rally, despite dramas with flooding creeks.
‘‘The conditions have been just diabolical, but we would have been in even more trouble without our Bridgestone mud tyres,’’ Garland said.
‘‘They have been fantastic when we’ve been on the road and not swimming.’’
Their 2010 Dakar-spec Isuzu D-MAX 4x4 ute became hopelessly bogged on the first day of competition.
Garland said they expected to be out of the running in the Asia rally after the creek incident and could not believe they managed to reach the podium.
‘‘They had warned us the water was about half a metre deep but it was probably about three times that much when we got there,’’ he said.
‘‘It was up to the dashboard. Everything got soaked — our phones and our cameras.
‘‘Harry thought he was going to drown because the cabin was full of water, and then we had to swim the tow rope to shore, so the recovery vehicle could pull us out.
‘‘But we got going again, and we were back in the battle. So while first would have been best, we’re pretty pleased that we actually got a result.’’
The five-day rally finished late Wednesday and was supposed to cover 2010km of jungles, swamps and river crossings but torrential rain forced several stages to be shortened.
The rally marked the first stage of the Isuzu team’s campaign for this year. Next stop will be the Australasian Safari in Western Australia in September, where they will debut a new Isuzu D-MAX.
The car will be shipped to Buenos Aires in late October for the 2011 Dakar Rally.
In 2009, they finished the Dakar as first diesel ute, first production chassis car, first amateur (non-factory) crew and 11th outright, out of nearly 200 cars. A servicerelated quirk thwarted their Dakar assault this year.
For more inormation, visit: www.isuzumotorsports.com