Thursday, August 12th, 2010
After a week of character-building racing, Australian offroad racers Bruce Garland and Harry Suzuki have finished second outright in the Asia Cross Country Rally.

The Sydney-based duo and their 2010 Dakar-spec Isuzu D-MAX 4x4 ute had hoped to be higher up the order, but dramas early in the week and on the final day (Wednesday, August 11) put paid to their plans.

“Today’s first stage was supposed to be about 35km long but it ended up being about 30km shorter because of more flooding. The set-up guy got stuck around the five-kay mark, so that’s where the finish line had to be.

“Then it took about two hours to turn around, winching ourselves into U-turns to do it because there were these huge ravines either side of the track. After that, we went back to town for a short flash stage around the streets to finish it all off.

“It was actually more slippery today than yesterday and yesterday I felt like I had walked on ice rinks with more grip than we had on the mud. The conditions have been just diabolical – but we would have been in even more trouble without our Bridgestone mud tyres. They have been fantastic – when we’ve been on the road and not swimming!”

Despite the conditions, Garland says the event has been a lot of fun but fun wasn’t what the Isuzu MotorSports crew was having three days ago when they became hopelessly bogged on the first real day of competition (see attached photos). Garland says he and Suzuki cannot believe they managed to reach the podium after the incident – they fully expected to be out of the running.

“They had warned us the water was about half a metre deep but it was probably about three times that much when we got there. It was up to the dashboard. Everything got soaked – our phones and our cameras.

“Harry thought he was going to drown because the cabin was full of water, and then we had to swim the tow rope to shore, so the recovery vehicle could pull us out. But we got going again, and we were back in the battle. So while first would have been best, we’re pretty pleased that we actually got a result.”

The rally kicked off with a Prologue in Pattaya last Saturday (August 7) and finished at Phrae (near the Laos border) yesterday (August 11). It was supposed to cover 2010km of jungles, swamps and river crossings but torrential rain forced several stages to be shortened.

Garland and Suzuki last contested this event in 2000 and came second. This time around, the rally marked the first stage of the team’s campaign for this year. Next stop will be the Australasian Safari in WA in September, where they will debut a new Isuzu D-MAX.

If all goes well, that car will be on the boat to Buenos Aires in late October in readiness for a January start in the 2011 Dakar Rally. Garland impressed during the enduro’s South American debut in 2009, finishing as first diesel ute, first production chassis car, first ‘amateur’ (non-factory) crew and 11th outright, out of nearly 200 cars. A service-related quirk thwarted their Dakar assault this year.

Garland and Suzuki’s vehicles are built in Garland’s Sydney backyard. The current car features a standard 3.0-litre turbo-diesel production engine that was slightly tweaked for better performance in the Dakar. It has maximum torque of 600Nm – up 66 per cent on the standard roadgoing D-MAX ute – and peak power of 180kW, which is 50 per cent more than the standard vehicle. The 2011 car has a new Isuzu engine which has 10 per cent more power and torque than the car that ran in Thailand.

The Australasian Safari starts in Perth on September 17 and finishes in Esperance on September 25. The 2011 Dakar Rally crosses Argentina to the Chilean coast and back over the fortnight of January 1 to 16 next year.

For more information about the team and the Asia Cross Country Rally, please check out the team website:

Contact Profile

Liz Swanton Media Liaison – Isuzu MotorSports

P: (612) 9771 1277
M: 0417 232 643


isuzu, motorsport, dakar,Australasian Safari



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