Since the 2021 Dakar, the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team has expanded its technical staff to further develop the Yamaha WR450F Rally bike and improve both its reliability and performance. In taking to the start of Rally Kazakhstan, the team will face its first competitive world championship outing of the season with a new team structure, refined machinery, and a revised rider line-up, as they take their first steps towards Dakar 2022.
Covering no less than 2,270 kilometres, of which 1,465 are divided into five timed special stages against the clock, Rally Kazakhstan takes place across the mixed terrain of the Mangystau region in the south-west of the country. Following the traditional ceremonial start on June 8 in the city of Aktau, all riders will then compete over five days of racing before crossing the finish line on June 13.
Leading the team into the opening round of the 2021 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship is Adrien Van Beveren. Following months of preparation, the Frenchman is excited to return to racing aboard his improved Yamaha WR450F Rally. The experienced rider, who turned 30 years old in February, lines up in Kazakhstan with confidence following a highly constructive off-season.
Another rider excited for the upcoming season is Andrew Short. Following a positive start to the 2021 Dakar Rally, the American was frustratingly forced to abandon the event due to contaminated fuel issues, which were outside of the team’s control, and that left Short unable to show his true capabilities on Yamaha machinery. Moving on, Andrew is now focused on delivering strong results in this year’s FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship before returning to the Dakar in 2022.
Completing the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team line-up is Ross Branch. Making his debut for the team at the 2021 Dakar, the Botswana native was just 13 seconds from winning stage six and ended the opening week placed in second overall. Undoubtedly on the pace with the best rally racers in the world, Branch has been focusing on improving his roadbook skills to ensure increased confidence and less navigational mistakes.
As the 2021 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship begins, the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team would like to express its appreciation to both Franco Caimi and Jamie McCanney and thank them for their efforts and commitment to the team during recent years.