Representing Yamaha in international rally racing, the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team enters the 2021 season with no fewer than five riders. Up first for Adrien Van Beveren, Franco Caimi, Andrew Short, Ross Branch and Jamie McCanney is the toughest challenge of them all – the Dakar Rally, which for 2021 takes place in the Middle East.
Since coming agonisingly close to a podium finish at the 2017 Dakar Rally, Adrien Van Beveren has continued to work towards his goal of a top-three Dakar result. Despite injury and misfortune resulting in unfortunate withdrawals in recent years, the Frenchman remains as focused as ever. With experience of leading the race, as well as having multiple stage wins to his credit, Adrien is very much focused on returning to the top of the results in 2021.
Following a successful enduro racing career in which he won multiple national titles in South America, Franco Caimi made the switch to rally competition at the age of 28. Racing to an eighth-place finish on his Dakar debut in 2017, Caimi impressed with his speed and navigational skills, going on to return from injury and again place eighth in 2020. With higher expectations for 2021, he’s determined to claim a career-best finish.
Jamie McCanney, from Douglas on the Isle of Man, is no stranger to success in offroad racing. Claiming the Enduro Junior World Championship in 2015 and becoming the Enduro 2 class runner-up aboard a Yamaha in 2017 and 2018, the Manxman switched to Rally for 2019. Following a year of intense preparation, he soon hinted at what’s to come with an impressive 15th place finish on his Dakar Rally debut, at the start of 2020. With another year of riding the Yamaha WR450F Rally, McCanney is looking forward to his second trip to the Middle East.
Andrew Short looks ahead to his first Dakar Rally with the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team. Making a speedy transition into rally in 2018, the former motocross and supercross racer quickly learned the discipline with 2019 being a standout season for the American. Starting that year with an impressive sixth at the Dakar Rally, he went on to place second in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship.
Claiming a stage win at the 2020 Dakar Rally, Ross Branch knows what it will take to place among the leading riders at the 43rd edition of the Dakar Rally. Displaying incredible speed at the Andalucia Rally – the only international rally event other than the Dakar Rally in 2020 – the Botswana native, just like his new teammate Andrew Short, will make his Dakar Rally debut for Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team in January 2020 and is eager to impress.
Leading the team’s management staff is Rally Manager José Leloir, Team Manager Marc Bourgeois, Yamaha Europe Off-Road Racing Manager Alexandre Kowalski, together with Sport Manager Jordi Arcarons, himself a highly experienced former rally racer. Delivering a vast array of experience to all Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team riders, all are working towards strong results at the Dakar Rally.
Yamaha has long been a dominant force in the prestigious annual race. Starting with XT 500 mounted Frenchman Cyril Neveu securing victory at the inaugural edition of the event back in 1979, Yamaha riders have claimed a total of nine victories in the motorcycle category of the Dakar, with the 10th a strong possibility in 2021.
Following this, it will be a demanding season ahead for the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team as focus quickly switches towards the soon-to-be-announced FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship.
Historically, the series spans multiple continents with events in the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and South America. Once the championship begins there is only one goal for the team - the 2021 world championship title.