With just four days to go until the opening stage of the 2021 Dakar Rally, all members of the team are fully prepared for the upcoming challenge. Well aware of the demanding days that lay ahead, each rider heads to the start line with high hopes and with the experience needed to secure a strong result in the desert.
Leading the team is the experienced Frenchman Adrien Van Beveren. Fully focused on his dream of winning the Dakar Rally, after spending the early part of 2020 recovering from surgery, he more recently spent much of the autumn and early winter in Dubai, re-acquainting himself with the same desert conditions he will face this January. Currently feeling strong and riding as well as he’s ever done following a positive outing at the Hail Rally, Van Beveren is set to take on the Dakar Rally in arguably his best ever form.
Franco Caimi was a consistent threat for top five stage results throughout the 2020 Dakar Rally, with the 32-year-old ultimately placing eighth overall to match his career-best result from the 2017 edition. Since then, Franco returned home to his native Argentina and following a brief recovery period and time to reflect, he switched his attention to the 2021 edition. Now, with months of focused training under his belt, Caimi is confident in establishing himself as a title contender.
Since joining the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team in March 2020, Andrew Short has spent much of the year riding in the Nevada desert, becoming fully acquainted with his Yamaha WR450F Rally machine. Following months of training, he made his racing debut with the team at the Andalucia Rally in Spain where a positive result saw Short confidently adjust to his new team surroundings and further develop his bike set-up. Looking ahead, Andrew has drawn upon his experiences from previous Dakars to form a solid race strategy heading into the 2021 event as he looks forward to taking on the Dakar rally challenge.
Much like his teammates Franco and Andrew, Ross Branch has spent much of 2020 training, clocking up countless miles on his Yamaha WR450F Rally in his Botswana homeland. Working on further improving his roadbook skills, and now armed with the full support of the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team, Ross is excited to race at the 43rd edition of the Dakar. With Branch looking to harness his raw speed to ensure consistently high stage results, the 34-year-old is aiming for a top 10 overall result.
The team’s youngest rider is 26-year-old Jamie McCanney, who is well prepared for what will be his second Dakar Rally. Still very new to the discipline, the Manxman made his Dakar debut a little over a year ago, making positive steps as the event progressed. Towards the end of the two-week race, Jamie enjoyed some rapid progress, delivering his best on stage 11 with sixth overall – a result that helped push him up the leaderboard to 15th in the final classification. With valuable experience earned, and with more time spent working on the set-up of his Yamaha WR450F Rally, McCanney is confident of improving upon his debut result.
The 2021 Dakar Rally gets underway in the port city of Jeddah on 3rd January and will cover more than 7500km before finishing in the same location on 15th January.