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Andrew Short Impresses On Stage Three Of Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge

Andrew Short Impresses On Stage Three Of Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge

The Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team continues to enjoy positive results at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge with Andrew Short completing the stage three special as the third fastest rider. Maintaining a strong pace throughout, the American secured his best stage result of the event so far and now moves up to fourth in the overall provisional classification. Yesterday’s stage winner, Adrien Van Beveren, opened the special and using his impeccable navigational skills, completed the stage in fifth, just under six minutes adrift of the winner. Following the damage sustained to his navigational equipment during his fall in stage two, the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team and Ross Branch together decided it was best to not compete, so as to fully prepare his bike for the final two days of competition.

Offering little in the way of respite, stage three took place over familiar terrain, which ensured another long day of navigating through a sea of rolling sand dunes. With both Andrew and Adrien racing against the clock for more than four hours, it ultimately proved to be a positive day for the riders and their Yamaha WR450F Rally machines with both completing the stage well placed inside the top five.

As the eighth rider to enter stage three, Andrew Short was able to focus on following the lines left in the sand by the riders ahead of him. With his bike running perfectly and with his confidence returning, the 38-year-old is taking all the positives from the serious test that the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is clearly offering. For tomorrow, Andrew will need to rely on his navigational skills as he will open the stage together with the event’s leading competitors.

Adrien Van Beveren was in impeccable form on stage three of the rally. Leading out and demonstrating impressive navigation, the Frenchman was only caught by two of his rivals halfway into the 293-kilometre special. From there, he matched the speed of the duo to complete the stage as the fifth-fastest rider, just under six minutes behind the eventual winner. An excellent result that firmly establishes Adrien as a podium contender with two days of racing to go.

Ross Branch didn’t take to the start of stage three due to damage to his navigational equipment, sustained following his fall during stage two. Unable to fix the all-important navigational tower at the end of stage two – a marathon stage – due to only carrying a limited amount of tools, it frustratingly ruled Ross out of the running. Despite his disappointment, Ross is hopeful of returning to the rally tomorrow, stage four, using the final two days of the rally as further training ahead of the Dakar Rally in January.

Tomorrow’s penultimate stage of the rally takes riders one step closer to the event’s finish line in Al Fathiyeh on Thursday. Scheduled to cover 403.76 kilometres with 251.98 of those raced against the clock, it looks set to be another gruelling test for all riders and their machinery.

Andrew Short - Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team

3rd Stage 3

The stage was pretty similar to yesterday - plenty of open terrain and sand dunes. I felt a bit better today and I’m slowly getting back to where I should be. My bike is running great and the more time I can spend on it the better ahead of the Dakar. That’s the main goal and I feel like I’m heading in the right direction with my riding to be ready for that race.

Andrew Short - Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team
Adrien Van Beveren – Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team

5th Stage 3

Opening stages is always a challenge, but I really enjoyed it today. It’s difficult to lead when it’s all dunes and I really tried to stay ahead and push on, but Matthias Walkner and Daniel Sanders caught up to me. But this is quite normal in rally so I cannot be too disappointed. From then onwards we rode the rest of the stage together which was fun, and the terrain was really nice today. Myself and my bike are in good shape and I’m looking forward to the final two stages.

Adrien Van Beveren – Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team
Ross Branch – Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team

Not quite the day that I’d hoped for today. The team and I decided I should sit out today as it wasn’t safe to continue with a damaged navigational tower. Today was day two of the marathon so the team couldn’t fix it and going out there without reliable navigation just wasn’t the best idea. I’ll be back for tomorrow though all being well and looking forward to putting in more time on the bike in preparation for the Dakar in January.

Ross Branch – Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team
2021 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge

Stage 3 Provisional Classification

1. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 3:59:09
2. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 4:01:53 + 0:02:44
3. Andrew Short (Yamaha) 4:02:15 + 0:03:06
4. Joaquim Rodrigues (Hero) 4:04:26 + 0:05:17
5. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 4:04:54 + 0:05:45
6. Sebastian Buhler (Hero) 4:07:28 + 0:08:19

Dakar Rally 2020
2021 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge

Overall Provisional Classification

1. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 11:54:24
2. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 11:55:22 + 0:00:58
3. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 12:00:04 + 0:05:40
4. Andrew Short (Yamaha) 12:18:43 + 0:24:19
5. Joaquim Rodrigues (Hero) 12:20:53 + 0:26:29
6. Sebastian Buhler (Hero) 12:33:44 + 0:39:20

Dakar Rally 2020