Once again the Simpson Desert threw in a bag of tricks for the riders. A change from the normal race route has been necessary as the Warburton Crossing leading onto the Birdsville Track is impassable. Day three was diverted up the little used sand track, known as the K1 Line.
Good conditions were experienced for the first few hours of the stage. However, by around 10:00 am riders were pushing into a northerly headwind while slugging through soft sand. By 10:45 am, the wind blew up a massive dust storm that has continued through most of the day and evening.
Nevertheless, 13 riders completed the morning stage, including the one remaining 100% rider, Alan Keenleside from NSW. Keenleside was well supported throughout the day by 2008 winner Lynton Stretton, who despite suffering a knee injury, is doing everything possible to help him remain undefeated by the desert.
Slovakian rider Roman Petr won the morning stage, with his partner and leading female rider Katarina Cervikova completing 100% of the stage. Race organisers are reporting that a number of competitors have announced their bikes are for sale, cheaply.
Former Rugby League champion Billy Johnstone claimed he spent much of the day riding at 4kph - then realized he was better off walking at 5kph! Numerous "competitions" between riders are now occurring. Cousins Aaron Brandon from Elimbah NSW and Andrew Armstrong-Taylor from Riverton, WA are racing for their respective AFL Teams, ensuring the slowest of the pair have to wear an opposing clubs football colours.
With the forced change in the race course, race organisers will assess the QAA Line track to decide the final route, distance and degree of difficulty of the remaining three stages. Race organisers are reporting that to date the conditions have been at least equal to the worst experienced in the 23-year race history.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Alan Keenleside (Aus)||100||Percent Completed|
|2||Lynton Stretton (Aus)||94|
|3||Jason Dreggs (Aus)||88|
|4||Andrew Jamieson (NZl)||85|
|5||Michael Dalton (Aus)||84|
|6||Ken Schack-Evans (Aus)||83|
|7||Jeff Rooney (Aus)||83|
|8||Rodney Edwards (Aus)||76|
|9||Roman Petr (Svk)||76|
|10||Kane Chandler (Aus)||75|
|11||Kerry Richards (Aus)||74|
|12||Al Descantes (Aus)||71|
|13||Ben Turner (Aus)||70|
|14||Katarina Cervikova (Svk)||70|
|15||Billy Johnstone (Aus)||70|
|16||Simon Holland (Aus)||69|
|17||Mark McLaren (Aus)||64|
|18||Leon Colbert (Aus)||63|
|19||Freddy Moojen (Aus)||59|
|20||Ole Kelderman (Aus)||58|
|21||Rick Neale (Aus)||58|
|22||David Schutz (Aus)||55|
|23||Andrew Hellier (Aus)||52|
|24||John White (NZl)||48|
|25||Mike Brennan (Aus)||48|
|26||Elisha Houghton (Aus)||45|
|27||Aaron Branden (Aus)||42|
|28||Chris Bain (Aus)||42|
|29||Andrew Armstrong-Taylor (Aus)||38|
|30||Wayne Chapman (Aus)||26|