Outstanding Runner-Up Result At 2021 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge


Finishing off a truly excellent performance at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, Adrien Van Beveren has completed the five-day event with victory on the fifth and final stage. Claiming three stage wins from five, the Frenchman was in contention for overall victory from day one, ultimately claiming an impressive runner-up finish. Underlining what proved to be a highly positive end to the rally for the entire Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team, Ross Branch completed the technical final stage in third place with Andrew Short right behind him in fourth.


Stage five of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge was the shortest of the event at 216.92 kilometres but offered little in the way of an easy ride to the finish. With tricky terrain that called for patience and precise navigation early on, all three of the team’s riders enjoyed the challenge before they raced across the finish line in Al Fathiyeh.


Bringing to an end a highly rewarding season of racing, Adrien Van Beveren secured second overall at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. Winning three of five stages, the Frenchman underlined his impressive form and after almost 18 hours of racing, finished the rally just over four and a half minutes behind the winner, Matthias Walkner. With Adrien claiming an impressive result at the final round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship he advanced to second in the final series standings.


The ever-positive Ross Branch placed a strong third overall on the fifth and final stage. Opening the rally with a win on stage one showed his impressive speed and he remained in contention for the win until a crash and broken navigational tower during the event’s marathon stage ruled him out of the running. Ultimately, Ross enjoyed a positive debut season in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, which was undoubtedly headlined by his overall win at Rally Kazakhstan.


The third and final Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team rider completing the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge was Andrew Short. Unfortunate to miss stage four due to a technical issue while lying fourth in the overall provisional classification, the American has pieced together a solid season and just like his teammates Adrian and Ross, is now fully focussed on the fast-approaching Dakar Rally.


Adrien Van Beveren – Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team

“Winning the last stage after opening, and finishing second in this rally, is a huge moment for me. The final stage was really tricky to begin with, made even more challenging by leading out so I rode a little cautious, but it paid off. No mistakes and knowing I had a nice gap in the overall classification meant that I could ride without risks and to win the stage, it’s just amazing. All year I’ve been consistent and focused on finishing each and every stage and this rally was no different. This result has come just at the right time ahead of Dakar, so from now until January I will maintain my level and aim to fight for the win there.”


Ross Branch – Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team

“It’s great to finish the final stage here in third place. It’s a shame about my crash on day two, that really messed things up but being able to ride the last two stages and put more time on the bike and continue learning was really positive. It’s awesome for me to have completed my first full season in the world championship and I can’t thank the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team enough for the opportunity. The focus is now on the Dakar, which is not too far away, and it won’t be long until we head out there to get things going.”


Andrew Short – Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team

“Today was difficult but it was definitely rewarding to reach the end of the rally and finish the final stage in fourth. This was a great event to compete in because of how close it is to the Dakar and also because the terrain is very similar to what we can expect there. I feel like everything is coming together, I just need to improve my pace a little and then I’ll be back to where I should be. Overall, it’s been a solid year. I’ve learned a lot this season and I’ll apply everything I’ve learned when I line up for the Dakar in January.”


Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2021


Stage 5 Provisional Classification

  1. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 2:32:06
  2. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 2:33:20 + 0:01:14
  3. Ross Branch (Yamaha) 2:36:07 + 0:04:01
  4. Andrew Short (Yamaha) 2:36:48 + 0:04:42
  5. Joaquim Rodrigues (Hero) 2:40:13 + 0:08:07
  6. Konrad Dabrowski (KTM) 2:46:22 + 0:14:16


Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2021


Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 5)

  1. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 17:38:40
  2. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 17:43:12 + 0:04:32
  3. Joaquim Rodrigues (Hero) 18:14:06 + 0:35:26
  4. Aaron Mare (KTM) 19:38:35 + 1:59:55
  5. Konrad Dabrowski (KTM) 20:29:01 + 2:50:21
  6. Mohammed Al Balooshi (KTM) 20:40:48 + 3:02:08

  1. Andrew Short (Yamaha) 54:10:31 +36:31:51
  2. Ross Branch (Yamaha) 60:00:51 + 42:22:11
About Michael Le Pard 10435 Articles
"Mr. Totalmotorcycle". Owner and Founder of Total Motorcycle, the World’s Largest Motorcycle Site with over 425 million readers since 1999. Total Motorcycle is my pride and joy and being able to reach 425 million people has been incredible and I could not have done it without the support of my visitors, readers and members...thank you so much! We are all making a difference to millions of riders worldwide.