For a first-timer in the Land Down Under, it looks like Josh Hall isn't doing too shabby. Hall and his team are currently in the midst of the Australasian Safari, which features seasoned off-roaders driving around the West Australian outback as they make their way to Kalgoorlie, where the race will end Saturday, August 8.
After a shaky start to the rally, Hall and his Hummer H2 SUT made an impressive showing in the four stages of the third leg, finishing sixth, second, fifth, and third. Hall carried his momentum into Leg 4, capturing sixth, third, and second. Currently, Hall holds 16th position among all competing autos.
| team Hummer H2 Sut front View
Since the safari began, Hall and navigator Thad Stump have been proving their mettle as they deal with unfamiliar territory, mechanical issues, and a field of experienced opponents. Due to event rules on engine displacement size, the H2 SUT race truck is entered in an "Invitation Class," meaning the H2 SUT is not officially in the competitive hunt. Although the Hummer was initially deemed too big to be competitive, especially since the auto division is full of Mitsubishi Pajeros and Nissan Patrols, the H2 SUT has performed better than expected. In the words of H2 SUT owner Greg Knowles, "The critics seem to be silenced."
Despite the challenges, Hall is thoroughly enjoying the experience, particularly the atmosphere. He has said that "some specific differences that I've enjoyed and found helpful is the fact we can talk directly to competitors through our race radio. It can build camaraderie and also helps from a safety standpoint. Combined with the entire feeling of the event and the professionalism of the organizers and racers -- this is off-road racing at its finest."
For more information on the Australasian Safari, visit www.australasiansafari.com.au.