Not only were conditions extreme for the riders during day four's ride, but the Simpson Desert continued its onslaught during the night in a way described as "hairy". The wind and dust continued during the night resulting in tents and shelters either being blown down or damaged - with some riders and support crews seeking refuge in their vehicles for the night.
However, the sun rose this morning with clear skies, the wind switched to the South, and the temperature dropped about 20 degrees.
Riders were greeted with a shortened stage of 41km commencing a few kilometres from Poeppel Corner (the junction of Northern Territory, South Australia and Queensland borders). Not only was the stage shortened, but riders experienced a tailwind, with a good percentage of the track being flat, limited sand and rock hard! Twenty seven riders completed 100% of the stage - one rider did not start, while two suffered mechanical problems.
The stage was won by Ken Schack-Evans from Yellowrock NSW. Alan Keenleside (Fairlight NSW) remains a clear leader comfortably still at 100 percent of the race completed. He just needs to complete the final stage tomorrow to take out the event honours. Lynton Stretton continues to ride with Keenleside, and maintains a hold on second place, while Jason Dreggs from Manly is third.
It is amazing what a difference a day makes. On previous days, riders were keen to give away their bikes, whereas today, crossing the finishing line they were all smiles and appreciating why they ride.
Where riders are on equal percentage completed, the rider with the fastest time will finish in the higher position.
The final stage into Birdsville will be held tomorrow morning over a distance of around 50km. The riders will be hoping the race organisers have a good night and are feeling generous, and don’t decide to send them over the big sand hills approaching Birdsville, including the iconic Big Red.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Alan Keenleside (Aus)||100||percent completed|
|2||Lynton Stretton (Aus)||94|
|3||Jason Dreggs (Aus)||89|
|4||Andrew Jamieson (NZl)||86|
|5||Michael Dalton (Aus)||85|
|6||Jeff Rooney (Aus)||85|
|7||Ken Schack-Evans (Aus)||84|
|8||Ben Turner (Aus)||79|
|9||Rodney Edwards (Aus)||78|
|10||Roman Petr (Svk)||78|
|11||Kane Chandler (Aus)||78|
|12||Kerry Richards (Aus)||77|
|13||Al Descantes (Aus)||74|
|14||Katarina Cervikova (Svk)||73|
|15||Billy Johnstone (Aus)||73|
|16||Simon Holland (Aus)||72|
|17||Leon Colbert (Aus)||66|
|18||Freddy Moojen (Aus)||63|
|19||Mark McLaren (Aus)||62|
|20||Ole Kelderman (Aus)||62|
|21||Andrew Hellier (Aus)||56|
|22||John White (NZl)||53|
|23||Mike Brennan (Aus)||53|
|24||David Schutz (Aus)||52|
|25||Rick Neale (Aus)||52|
|26||Elisha Houghton (Aus)||50|
|27||Chris Bain (Aus)||48|
|28||Aaron Branden (Aus)||47|
|29||Andrew Armstrong-Taylor (Aus)||44|
|30||Wayne Chapman (Aus)||33|