Australasian Safari 2009

For those people who love their dirt bikes and enduros, it is absolutely awesome that the W.A Government has decided to keep the Australasian Safari in W.A for another 3 years. For those of you who do not follow or know about the Safari, shame on you……no seriously, this is where the organisers need to do more to promote the event, because a lot of people don’t know about it. It is Australia’s premier off-road rally event, Australia’s equivalent of the Dakar. The event started in Perth, on to Geraldton, Mt Magnet, Leonora, Laverton and on to Kalgoorlie, covering nearly 4000 km of very harsh desert conditions. It is such a big area to cover, and not knowing where to go as a photographer is a bit hit and miss, but you just have to make do.

Away fom the racing, it is just a great event to be on. You meet some great people and form friendships that will last a lifetime. You also get to experience first hand the skills of the riders and the drivers, but most respect from me goes to the riders. The speeds they have to travel at whilst trying to read their map is just amazing, epecially riding along tracks unknown to them, and not knowing what might be around the corner. These guys travel through some amzing scenery, although riding in excess of 150kmh at times, it would be quite a blur, throw in kangaroos, cattle, emus and even camels, and you have to be pretty switched on. It is an event that I would love to do, one day!!

Here’s some photos from the week. (Click images to enlarge)

Jacob Smith from Condobolin won the event ahead of his brother Todd and winner the previous two years Ben Grabham. The first image he was staring down a straight about 1km long, he was the first one off the line, riding into the unknown. Who knows what is going through his mind. The middle image is Jacob with his team from GHR Honda (Glen Hoffman Racing) and on the podium with brother Todd and Grabham.

Ben Grabham won the Safari in ’07 and ’08. He just blew me away with how smooth his riding is and the speed at which he attacks the course. On the 2nd day his safari nearly came to an end after his rear tyre decided it didn’t want to play anymore. But with the true fighting spirit of a true champion, he rode about 100km on the rim, stopping a couple times to re-lace the spokes, he only had 8 good ones when he made it to the Yalgoo service stop. He  was an hour behind at the end of the day. He finished the race 14 minutes behind eventual winner Jacob Smith. The steely eyed look says it all, with the two riders he’s hunting down in the background, the Smith Brothers.

(L to R) Matt Fish (5), 5th 2008, knocked out twice in two days after two big crashes, choppered out after the 2nd crash!! Rod Faggoter (2), 2nd in ’08, no luck in ’09, very smooth rider, awesome to watch. Ivan Erceg (89), 4th  outright in ’09, winner production class. Fifi Box from Sunrise fell in love with him.

(L to R) Tim Vandenberg (80), very consistent and was in 4th outright until a big end shat itself out of Laverton. W.A rider Heath Young (94) was going well in the quads but had a few problems on the way. Unknown Husaberg rider, I like the pic though!!


There was a large contingent of competitors from overseas, including female rider Annie Seel (11) from Sweden, as well as riders from South Africa, The Czech Republic and Japan. Annie Seel at one stage had a stick go through her boot into her foot, only to refuse to stop riding, so after paramedics removed the stick, she carried on!! Gutsy!

There were some cars racing by the way!! No disrespect to them but I was there for the motos.


The aftermath of two major crashes. Damien Grabham (No 3) broke both legs after his crash. Matt Fish, after borrowing Grabham’s rear tyre, had a massive get off about 30 k’s down the road, knocking himself out for the 2nd time in 2 days and needing to be air lifted out. The desert isn’t the place you want to come off when you’re doing in excess of 150kmh!!

And last but not least for this post, is Fifi Box. The sunrise crew joined the Safari in Geraldton, and followed for 4 days, which is great exposure for the event. Fifi was good fun, bright, bubbly and not shy to have a go. She got on the back of Ivan Erceg’s bike, who then did a few snakies up the road, with Fifi loving it on the back. Then the next day Fifi thought it wouldn’t be too hard to ride a bike, so one of the boys had a pit bike, showed her what to do, and as Fifi went to jump on, twisted the trottle and the bike took off, with Fifi dragging along behind. She broke her wrist, all in the name of trying to impress a guy!!! To her credit, she didn’t sook and go home, she stuck it out, hand in cast and stayed for the duration!! Well Done Fifi!! I was disappointed because I never got the photos of her stacking it……..

Well hope you enjoyed the photos. I’m planning on going again next year, it’s definitely addictive!!

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~ by Jamie Nicolaou on January 20, 2010.

14 Responses to “Australasian Safari 2009”

  1. I remeber hearing about this ages ago and thinking if i had of known it was on i would have gone to check it out, awesome pics here. Some of them are hidden behind others, might need to change the layout a bit.
    Dan

  2. Cheers for that Dan, it’s a great week away, just being involved.
    I’m a bit confused, the layout seems fine on my screen, I dragged it over to the laptop and it is fine there also.
    Cheers Dan.

  3. Great shots Jamie , layout is fine this end.

  4. Sounds like fun….might have to check it out 😉

  5. Some rippers in that lot Jamie, Had to laugh when I saw the pic of Heath Young, I built a canopy for his Hilux ute for that event and he came back last week and ordered another one for his new F250 for this years event. He’s going all out this time round and I reckon he’s got a good chance to. I would love to get up that way this year and get a few shots of my own.

    • Yeah Heath rides well, it’s just unfortunate that he had a few mechanical problems. But as is with the nature of this type of event, it’s both man and machine that gets tested. It’s humbling to see a bike that’s been involved in a high speed crash, only to see the guy walk away, a little sore but ok, and t see the stat of the bike you just wonder how!!

  6. Stay tuned for the next post!!!

  7. Great images Jamie. The D3 loves this sort of stuff! Bikes are great to shoot, cut my teeth on them apart from the dust!

    • Cheers David, yeah loves it. I’m actually looking forward to doing a heap of MX stuff this year. As long as this new job in Collie is ok and don’t have to go back to Karratha I’ll be doing a fair bit. Hopefully get out to shoot some enduros as well. Also wouldn;t mnd doing some riding myself!!

  8. NIco some awesome images and you know there is many that envy you, you do us all proud continue to prosper and I am sure you shall succeed mate.

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