A welcome shower of rain was far from a drought breaker, but it settled the dust for a few hours as the Yellow Mountain cross country got underway on Saturday 4 August at Condobolin, New South Wales.
The early-morning Prologue sorted out the start order of almost 200 riders, and Broc Grabham showed the skill that has him sitting in third place in E3 class of the Australian Off Road Championships, by blitzing the field on his Gas Gas 300EC two stroke.
Grabham was first away, with each bike starting at 15-second intervals as each rider set his sights on Tottenham, some 220km away. The first section of the race was tight tracks which allowed Grabham to pull some time before hitting the open fast sections where the 450cc and 500cc bikes have the advantage in top-end speed. Wildlife added a new dimension to racing when Broc found himself being pushed off the track by an emu. Despite the hazards, a relatively clean run had Broc posting the fastest time into Tottenham to finish Day 1, four minutes in front of Zac Thornton, with local rider James Staniforth (KTM) finishing third.
In the interests of safety in such dry, dusty conditions, riders started the return leg on Sunday morning at 30-second intervals, one at a time. Once again the air was filled with the waft of two-stroke oil as Grabham showed what the 300 stroker was capable of.
Thornton’s hopes of improving on his third place last year melted away, along with his rear mousse tube, and was passed by Staniforth, then Nic Forsyth.
Broc rode an impeccable race to bring home the Gas Gas almost nine minutes ahead of Staniforth in second place. Forsyth rode well on the return leg to lift his position from seventh on day one to third outright.