Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team’s participation in this year’s Dakar Rally drew to a frustrating close today as Adrien Van Beveren was forced to withdraw following a technical issue. Unable to complete the 12th and final stage of the event, AVB was just 30 minutes into the special when he ran into difficulties.
With Van Beveren’s team-mates, Franco Caimi, Andrew Short, Ross Branch and Jamie McCanney, also encountering technical issues during earlier stages of the event, the 2021 Dakar Rally has unquestionably ended far from the way the team hoped it would.
Taking a cautious approach early on in the rally, Adrien Van Beveren ended a consistent opening week with a sixth-place finish on stage six, indicating the Frenchman’s return to form. When competition resumed following the mid-event rest day, the 30-year-old continued to ride well, remaining on the pace with the leading riders throughout the second week of racing. Adrien entered the final day placed eighth overall. Frustratingly, and with the finish line on the horizon, a technical issue ended his rally agonisingly close to the finish line in Jeddah.
Racing in just his third ever Dakar, Ross Branch was a revelation in week one for the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team. Putting together strong and consistent stage results throughout the opening week of racing, the Botswana native come agonisingly close to victory on stage six, ending the special just 13 seconds behind the eventual winner. As the rally then reached the halfway mark, Ross was well placed among the leading riders in fourth overall.
Further highlights for the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team came from Franco Caimi and Jamie McCanney. With Franco entering the top 10 overall at the end of stage seven, Jamie, in only his second Dakar, enjoyed a highly positive start to the rally and was well placed inside the top 20 before exiting the event on stage five.
Contaminated fuel, an issue outside of the team’s control, was the unfortunate reason for Andrew Short’s early departure from the 2021 Dakar Rally, on stage two.
Despite the disappointment, the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team depart Saudi Arabia determined to return stronger in 2022.
Alexandre Kowalski – Yamaha Europe Off-Road Racing Manager
“It’s so sad and so disappointing to end the rally this way. After all the hard work by the team, by the riders and the risks they take, the preparation made by everyone, it’s difficult to end the rally with a Adrien having a technical issue today. For sure we will look into what the problem was, and fully review all that has happened during these last two weeks, to ensure we are stronger in the future. Besides this, we have enjoyed many positives at this year’s Dakar. In the first week Ross was incredible. Riding really well with the best rally riders in the world he was going so well until he crashed on stage seven. This week Adrien was also returning back to his best form. On pace with the leading riders this week, so this was good for him and the team. For Andrew and Franco, they both have what it takes to be top 10 rally racers wherever they line up. They are both strong and smart riders who both showed good pace at this year’s rally. Jamie McCanney also, he was really impressive this year, faster and much better with his navigation. He was on course for a much-improved result in only his second Dakar. Now, we will return back to Europe, regroup and work on being stronger for the season ahead.”