Frustratingly challenging opening stage at 2021 Rallye du Maroc


Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team’s Adrien Van Beveren, Andrew Short, and Ross Branch have all safely completed a challenging opening stage at the 2021 Rallye du Maroc. With Adrien Van Beveren enjoying a strong, trouble-free start to the event with a sixth-place finish, his teammates Short and Branch were not so fortunate. Forced to ride most of the 228-kilometre special with a damaged navigation tower after a crash, Andrew brought his Yamaha WR450F Rally home in 15th. Frustratingly, a considerable navigational error for Ross saw the Botswana native complete the stage in 26th.


With all five days of racing at the Rallye du Maroc departing from, and returning to the bivouac in Zagora, stage one began by taking riders in a south-westerly direction away from the host town. As riders entered the timed special, the mixed terrain stage began with a 30-kilometre stretch of rolling sand dunes before opening out into hard desert tracks. An additional hazard came from an unexpected sandstorm, which only added to the difficulty of an already technical special.


For Adrien Van Beveren, the Frenchman thoroughly enjoyed the challenges found on stage one to successfully complete the timed special as the sixth-fastest rider. Feeling physically strong and confident aboard his Yamaha WR450F Rally, Adrien delivered a calculated ride to ensure a solid finish on the opening day of the event.


Another Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team rider initially enjoying a positive start to the rally was Andrew Short. Frustratingly, a crash in the sand dunes left the American with a damaged navigation tower but he was otherwise unharmed. With the sandstorm forcing many of the front runners to slow their pace, this allowed Andrew to make up for lost time and ultimately cross the finish line in 14th position.


As the third rider to enter the stage, Ross Branch faced the arduous task of opening the special and would be caught out by the sandstorm, which led to a sizable mistake with his navigation. Losing considerable time, Ross’ chances of another win in this year’s FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship at the Rally du Maroc are now incredibly slim, however the always upbeat racer remains excited to demonstrate his true capabilities during the remaining days of the rally.


With day one of the Rallye du Maroc proving to be eventful for the team, tomorrow’s second day of the rally brings the longest stage with a total distance of 609.22 kilometres.


Adrien Van Beveren – Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team

“I really enjoyed the opening stage today. It was what I would call a proper stage, in the desert, with technical terrain and difficult navigation. There was also a sandstorm that made things even more difficult and finding the right way was tricky sometimes. It was also a really hot one today, but I felt really strong physically and I great on the bike. The focus is now on tomorrow but with how things went today, I’m really happy.”


Andrew Short – Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team

“It was a pretty good day for me, and I had a good stage going until I crashed in the sand dunes about 80 kilometres in. Unfortunately, I damaged my navigation tower, and the bike was leaking some fluids so after that I had to rider a little conservatively. There was also a sandstorm, which kind of played in my favour as everyone had to slow their pace a little. I was able to complete the stage and the technicians will work on my bike, so they’ll have it sorted for tomorrow and we’ll go again.”


Ross Branch – Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team

“It was a really bad day for me today. I made a big navigational error around 50 kilometres in, partly because of the huge sandstorm, and it proved to be a really costly mistake. By the time I was back on track I’d lost a lot of time and it’s really frustrating. My speed was good so that’s a positive and the team has been really supportive. We’ll put this behind us now, focus on the day’s ahead, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the rally.”


Rallye du Maroc 2021


Stage 1 Provisional Classification

  1. Joan Barreda (Honda) 2:58:53
  2. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 3:00:03 + 0:01:10
  3. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 3:01:52 + 0:02:59
  4. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 3:05:43 + 0:06:50
  5. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 3:06:24 + 0:07:31
  6. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 3:08:44 + 0:09:51

  1. Andrew Short (Yamaha) 3:17:44 + 0:18:51
  2. Ross Branch (Yamaha) 3:47:10 + 0:48:17


Rallye du Maroc 2021


Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 1)

  1. Joan Barreda (Honda) 3:25:57
  2. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 3:26:51 + 0:00:54
  3. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 3:29:08 + 0:03:11
  4. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 3:31:39 + 0:05:42
  5. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 3:32:56 + 0:06:59
  6. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 3:34:52 + 0:08:55

  1. Andrew Short (Yamaha) 3:43:44 + 0:17:47
  2. Ross Branch (Yamaha) 4:12:18 + 0:46:21
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