Teams Prepare for 2021 Dakar Rally

2019 Yamaha WR450F

Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team Ready For Andalucia Rally
With eight months having passed since the 2020 Dakar Rally, and with less than three months before the iconic event rolls around once again, the full Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team will soon flex their competitive muscle when they compete in the ASO organised Andalucia Rally, in Spain. With two new riders – American Andrew Short and Botswana’s Ross Branch – joining the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team alongside Adrien van Beveren, Franco Caimi and Jamie McCanney, all riders have been working hard in recent months in readiness to finally go racing.

 

In what will be the one and only international rally competition used as preparation for the upcoming Dakar, the Andalucia Rally brings the team to southern Spain with stages taking place from October 6 to 10. For all riders it will be their first major event since January with the swift, five-day format the perfect environment in which to both return to competition and reaccustom themselves with their WR450F Rally machinery.

 

To determine the event’s starting order, a short Super Special Stage takes place on the opening day before riders depart from, and return to, the bivouac town of Villamartin for each of the four main legs of the rally. When the event comes to a close, riders will have covered no less than 1,300 kilometres with 1,030 of those being timed specials. Stage three is expected to be the most challenging with 300 km of dry, rugged and rocky tracks to the north-west of Malaga.

 

Equalling a career best finish of eighth at the 2020 Dakar Rally, Franco Caimi was set for a positive year of rally racing before the global pandemic stopped all events in their tracks. Eager to race again after an extended break from competition, the Argentine is optimistic of a strong result at the Andalucia Rally. Spending the year at home in South America, Franco has enjoyed a solid preparation over the summer.

 

Adrien van Beveren has fully recovered from his injuries sustained during the 2020 Dakar Rally and is excited to be racing again in Spain. With many years of racing the WR450F Rally under his belt, AVB can fully-focus on his riding and will be aiming for a positive result come October 10 as he builds towards another Dakar Rally.

 

Andrew Short is new to the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team yet to fans of offroad racing needs little introduction. The former AMA supercross and motocross star made the switch to rally just three years ago and found success immediately with a third-place finish at the 2017 Sonora Rally. A born racer, Andrew has enjoyed multiple successes in his short rally career with a sixth-place finish at the 2019 Dakar Rally being the highlight to date.

 

Also joining the team is Botswana native Ross Branch. After making his Dakar debut in 2019, where he claimed an impressive 13th overall and Best Rookie honours, Ross turned heads by winning stage two at the 2020 edition. Blighted by various challenges following his impressive stage victory, a 21st place finish was still a strong result. Now part of the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team, Branch has everything necessary to further his rally career.

 

The youngest member of the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team is 26-year-old Jamie McCanney. Having only raced a handful of rally events since making the switch from world enduro, the Manxman enjoyed success and gained valuable experience following every completed stage of the 2020 Dakar Rally. Once travel restrictions lifted during 2020, the Manxman headed to Portugal to catch up on some much-needed seat time. The former world enduro star looks forward to competing in Andalucia and to securing a positive result.

 

Franco Caimi – Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team

“It’s great to be back racing but also to be around the full team again is really good. The whole team has been together for a couple of weeks and the team spirit is really strong. It’s been a long time since we last raced but I’m so excited to line up again. I’ve been working hard and training on the bike for a long time so it will be good to see how well our preparation has gone and what result we can achieve. I’m looking for a strong result to put myself and the team in a good place ahead of the Dakar Rally next year.”

 

Ross Branch – Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team

“I’m really looking forward to the Andalucia Rally. It’s with my new team and everything is new for me, so it’s a really exciting time at the moment. Everyone on the team is great, friendly and professional and I’ve been made to feel very welcome. It’s been a long time since I last raced, which was the Dakar back in January. Since then I’ve been getting used to the Yamaha and working on my roadbook training. For sure there will be nerves ahead of the race as it’s been so long, and everyone else racing will feel the same, but it’ll be good to shake them out ahead of the Dakar. Overall, I’m just excited to be racing again and can’t wait to compete on my new Yamaha.”

 

Andrew Short – Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team

“I feel really happy to be racing again and I’m excited to get started. Obviously, it’s been a strange year with no racing but now that we’re finally here it’s a great feeling. All the top guys are racing so it will be a really good test and interesting to see where we are results wise, and important to see if there is anything we can work on ahead of Dakar. With no racing this year this rally will be the only proper test in race conditions, so I have modest expectations. It’s the same for everyone though and it’s just great to be back racing.”

 

Adrien van Beveren – Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team

“With how this year has gone I’ve been able to fully recover from my crash at Dakar so that’s been positive. I needed surgery and time to recover so I’m fully healed now and ready to go. I raced a small event in August that went well but this race in Andalucia will be a decent test as everyone will be racing, so I’m excited to see where we fit in. It’ll be the last race I do ahead of Dakar and it’s going to be an intense four days of racing. Overall, I’m ready for it and really excited to be back racing my Yamaha.”

 

Jamie McCanney – Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team

“I’m feeling good. I raced Dakar in January and then shortly after had surgery on my shoulder, so it was good to get that fixed up in the downtime we had. Dakar went quite well although I didn’t perform at my best early on. I learned all the time and then came good at the end so really, I’m happy with the result and look forward to the next one. I’m excited to race the Andalucia Rally and I’m looking for a positive outcome. I’ve been riding for a little while now although I’ve not been able to work on my roadbook skills as much as I’d have liked to. I’ve spent a lot of time in Portugal getting back into the swing of things and it’s been going well. This rally will be a good test ahead of Dakar. It’s been a long time since we raced but it’s the same for everyone, we’re all in the same boat. The whole team has been able to spend time together recently, which has been great and we’re all excited to be racing again.”

 

Alexandre Kowalski – Yamaha Europe Off-Road Racing Manager

“Firstly, I’d like to mention that David Castera and the rest of the organisers have done a really great job in making this race happen, we are really grateful to get one race in this year ahead of Dakar. It’s been a unique year and I am really happy that we are racing again. We welcome two new riders to the team in Andrew and Ross who join Adrien, Franco and Jamie, and they’re all here racing, so it’s an exciting time for the whole team. It was difficult logistically to get everyone here, but we achieved that and everyone is really motivated – the riders and the team personnel so we’re in a good place. All the riders are fit and ready. They’ve been working hard on their physical training and roadbook skills but now that the preparation time is over, it’s time to race. We hope that the hard work put in by all the riders will pay off with strong results and they’re all really confident and motivated to do well.”

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