RACE CAR ON ITS WAY OVERSEAS
Offroad racing champion Bruce Garland has ticked another box for his 2013 Dakar Rally campaign, with the Isuzu D-MAX racing ute now in a shipping container on the high seas.
The Isuzu Motorsports crew finished their final pre-Dakar preparations in Perth last week, after an unsuccessful run in the 27th Australasian Safari.
The five-time winners of the event, Garland and navigator Harry Suzuki were forced to withdraw after clipping a gatepost and bending the chassis of the D-MAX.
With Dakar being the priority, they opted not to do a rushed repair job to continue competing. Instead, they returned to Perth to carry out a full repair and service – as well as changing components and set-up to meet Dakar specifications – before
loading the D-MAX on a freighter.
“Not getting a result in the Safari was extremely disappointing, but we’re on a mission for next year’s Dakar, and that had to be where we kept our focus,” Garland says.
“We were going to be tight on time to get the race car ready for the ship, so not finishing the Safari gave us a bit more breathing space and allowed us to get everything right. The D-MAX is pretty much ready to race as soon as it touches land in South America.”
Garland has unfinished business with the world’s most gruelling offroad event. He’s been laid off from competition for more than 18 months after fracturing a vertebra during the 2011 Dakar. Two months later, still recovering from that injury and on holidays in Melbourne, he had a heart attack. Five bypasses were done by the specialist team at Melbourne’s MonashHeart.
Garland and Suzuki’s best result in the Dakar was 11th outright and first diesel ute home in the 2009 event, but they are chasing a top 10 finish for the 2013 Dakar, which will run through Chile, Argentina and Peru next January.
The Isuzu Motorsports crew will fly out for South America at the end of the year. Between now and then, Garland is spending a month in Africa, working as a precision driver, filming scenes for the new Mad Max movie, Fury Road.
“Some of the best stunt drivers from around the world are involved, so I’m really looking forward to working with them. It should be a lot of fun and a bit of a break before all the hard work starts in South America.”
** For more information on the team, please check the website (http://www.isuzumotorsports.