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Safari king's Jackaroo goes walkabout

Back of Burke: Bruce Garland heading for victory in last year's Australian Safari driving an identical vehicle to the one that was stolen.

The Holden Jackaroo in which Bruce Garland planned to defend his Australian Safari title has been stolen

20 Apr 2000

AUSTRALIAN Safari champion Bruce Garland's title defence has been set back with the theft of his $100,000 Holden Jackaroo racer.

The brazen thieves made off with the distinctive factory-backed machine from outside Garland's workshop in the Sydney suburb of Rydalmere on Tuesday (April 18).

At the time, Garland and his crew were preparing a second vehicle to cope with the team's increased schedule this year.

As well as the Safari in August, Garland is set to contest the Condobolin 750 in central NSW this weekend, the Finke Desert Race in the Northern Territory in June and the Nevada 2000 in the United States in July.

Garland, 41, said his preparation for the Australian Safari - which he won in 1996 and 1999 - would be seriously disrupted unless the race vehicle was recovered soon.

He will race the new Jackaroo this weekend but had planned to use the older one in the Safari.

Peter Brock drove the now stolen Jackaroo in last year's event.

"One way or another we will still get to the Safari, even if it's in another vehicle, but this has thrown a real spanner in the works," said Garland.

"The police are looking for it and we're expecting it to turn up somewhere because it's got stickers all over it and it would be difficult to hide.

"It's not the type of car you could sell because it's got all the lightweight panels and it has been fitted with special brakes and suspension parts.

"I can't imagine anyone took it to race because it would be recognised straight away, so maybe it was joyriders.

"It's a noisy area and no one saw or heard anything, so I'd say whoever stole the vehicle made a forced entry and then drove off in it." The vehicle is road-registered in Victoria and carries the registration plate NOS 557.

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