Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team’s Ross Branch has taken the overall lead at the 2021 Silk Way Rally following the conclusion of stage two. Securing his second consecutive runner-up finish, Ross now enjoys a near two-and-a-half-minute advantage at the top of the provisional standings. Ross’ teammates, Adrien Van Beveren and Andrew Short, successfully completed the challenging second stage of the rally with Adrien now placed fourth in the overall classification, with Andrew just a few minutes behind in eighth.
The second stage of the Silk Way Rally provided a mixture of terrain with hardpack desert tracks, sand, mud, and gravel. Riders needed to apply a particularly cautious approach through the middle part of the special, which saw riders navigate their way through a dense forest where time could easily be won or lost.
Thoroughly enjoying stage two, Ross Branch was on the pace from the very beginning. With experience in world championship motocross, the 35-year-old enjoyed the fast, rough terrain and led the stage through the first two waypoints. Going on to complete the special just six seconds shy of the win, Ross now takes over the provisional lead of the Silk Way Rally.
Andrew Short delivered another consistent stage result on day two of the rally to end the special as the ninth fastest rider. Maintaining a strong pace throughout the 132.74-kilometre stage, the American enjoyed the forest section of the special to remain on pace with the leading riders. After two days of racing, Andrew now sits in eighth overall in the provisional classification with less than two minutes separating him from the top five.
Applying a cautious approach to stage two knowing how technical and potentially treacherous the conditions can be at the Silk Way Rally, Adrien Van Beveren came home in 10th place aboard his Yamaha WR450F Rally machine. Much like his teammates, Adrien enjoyed the special’s varied terrain and despite being a little off the pace of the leading riders today, he now looks forward to the remaining eight days of racing.
Stage three of the Silk Way Rally takes place tomorrow with a 133.22-kilometre special. Beginning with technical, rocky terrain before opening out onto fast stretches of gravel roads, multiple river crossings will then provide a unique hazard. Upon completing the stage, riders will have crossed the border into Mongolia where they’ll arrive at the temporary bivouac in the town of Ulgiy.
Ross Branch – Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team
“Another really good day and the stage was just awesome. It was like a motocross track for half of it as it was rough, fast, and really good fun. It’s great to move into the lead and I’m feeling fit and strong. There’s still a long way to the end and I’m excited to see what tomorrow brings. My bike has been working perfectly so far and the support from my team and the fans here in Russia has been amazing.”
Andrew Short – Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team
“It was a fun stage today. At the start the atmosphere was amazing with lots of fans around, which we haven’t really had for a long time. The middle of the stage was awesome as the route went through a forest and it was like an enduro section. It was definitely my favourite part of the rally so far. Overall, another solid result for me to build from as we head into day three.”
Adrien Van Beveren – Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team
“Today’s stage was really varied with sand, forests, mud, and fast roads. It was quite rough and technical in places and I enjoyed it a lot. I felt great on the bike and I focused on riding without mistakes today as you could lose a lot of time with a crash or mistake, especially in the forest. I thought I was on the pace, but I was a little bit off, which is a shame, so perhaps I was a little too cautious. Overall, I’m still in fourth, my bike is good, and there is a long way to go.”
Silk Way Rally 2021
Stage 2 Provisional Classification
- Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 1:22:44
- Ross Branch (Yamaha) 1:22:50 + 0:00:06
- Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 1:23:41 + 0:00:57
- Matthias Walkner (KTM) 1:24:38 + 0:01:54
- Joaquim Rodrigues (Hero) 1:25:02 + 0:02:18
- Sebastian Buhler (Hero) 1:25:41 + 0:02:57
- Andrew Short (Yamaha) 1:27:11 + 0:04:27
- Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 1:27:20 + 0:04:36
Silk Way Rally 2021
Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 2)
- Ross Branch (Yamaha) 2:13:45
- Franco Caimi (Hero) 2:16:11 + 0:02:26
- Matthias Walkner (KTM) 2:17:03 + 0:03:18
- Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 2:18:42 + 0:04:57
- Sebastian Buhler (Hero) 2:18:48 + 0:05:03
- Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 2:20:09 + 0:06:24
- Andrew Short (Yamaha) 2:20:31 + 0:06:46