Jacob Smith at Yellow Mountain
Emerging Yamaha talent Jacob Smith is set to become the next big prospect in Australian off road riding after an incredible performance at the Yellow Mountain Cross Country event last weekend, a warm-up ahead of the Australian Safari later this month.
The Condo 750 winner revelled in the favourable conditions and familiar territory, with the event consisting of approximately 220km of racing each day – from Condobolin to Tottenham on Saturday and the reverse route on Sunday. Jacob was third in the prologue, and had shot into the lead after the first fuel dump. He checked out on the field, and was racing towards the finish line before the bike stopped painfully short, having run out of fuel.
Running a different capacity fuel tank for the weekend, the team was aiming to test the economy of the bike, and despite the disappointment, are pleased they were able to accurately gauge the bike’s fuel consumption in a race situation.On Sunday, Smith showed his skill and determination by blasting back into second after starting well down on the leaders in 6th place. With pace to burn, he was clearly the quickest rider in the field, and despite the dampener of Saturday’s result the entire team is looking forward to a fantastic Safari event.
Team Manager Gary Williams said he was incredibly pleased with Jacob’s progress and predicted the emergence of a new star in the sport. “The weekend went very well, if it hadn’t been for a slight miscalculation in the amount of fuel we needed then I have no doubt Jake would have absolutely smoked the competition – he showed this outright speed on the Sunday morning and was by far the quickest guy out there,” said Williams.“As an 18-year-old he is incredibly mature, he approaches everything very calmly and didn’t lose his cool when the bike stopped short of the line on Saturday."
"He actually borrowed some fuel off a farmer and was able to continue, finishing only 8 minutes behind. He’s definitely the next big thing in Australian off-road racing, and the Safari will be a good indication of this talent.The Yellow Mountain event was our last real test before the event, there’s a 200km shakedown on the Wednesday before the Safari kicks off, but we’re pretty confident the bikes are set up well, with a good compromise between comfort and flat out speed.”
Sam Laws, Dealer Principal of Sam Laws Motorcycles and the driving force behind the team’s fleet of WR machines, said Jacob had shone on the weekend and could not wait to witness his progress in the Safari.
“For a weekend that was designed to test the mileage of the bike and act as a shakedown ahead of the Safari, the whole team was rapt with the performance and know the final result is hardly indicative of Jacob’s performance,” said Laws.“The best indication of this was his start on Sunday where he reeled in the riders in front of him so quickly and professionally,” he said.“We are rapt with his performance and how the bike is running, and can’t wait to get to the Safari in a few weeks time to team up with our other 3 riders.”
Yamaha’s factory representation at the Australian Safari comes in the form of the highly-credentialed Ross Mitchell Yamaha Australian Safari Team, with Smith to line-up alongside the four-pronged attack’s namesake Ross Mitchell, and international specialists Casey McCoy and Jonah Street.
Considered to be one of the most gruelling contests of its kind in the world, the 9-day Safari is often described as Australia’s version of Paris to Dakar, with competition taking place in the wilds of Western Australia, starting on August 24 and heading through until the 1st of September across 5500km.
A world-class field will tackle a variety of terrain, from the rocky and hilly regions of north-west Australia, through deserts, coastal dunes and south towards the forestry roads heading into Perth.