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Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team Excited For 2021 Rallye du Maroc

Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team Excited For 2021 Rallye du Maroc

The Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team returns to FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship action this weekend for round four of the series, the Rallye du Maroc. With a few months passing since the team’s last competitive outing at the Silk Way Rally in July, the squad has made full use of the downtime to make further enhancements to its Yamaha WR450F Rally machines. Set to put those refinements to the test in Morocco, Ross Branch, Adrien Van Beveren, and Andrew Short are all excited to begin the five-day event in just a few days’ time.

The Rallye du Maroc is both a much looked forward to and demanding stop on the Rallies World Championship calendar due to its challenging terrain and testing navigation. With five looping stages departing and returning to the town of Zagora, all competitors will face punishing sand dunes and technical trails before they reach the finish line. Scheduled to cover a total distance of 2,657 kilometres, following the 10-kilometre event opening prologue on Friday October 8 the rally begins in earnest with the first of five consecutive stages on Saturday, October 9.

After a strong start to the championship, including his impressive victory at the Rally Kazakhstan 2021 season-opener, Ross Branch is looking forward to competing at the Rallye du Maroc. Enjoying an extensive period of testing with the team and clocking up many miles on his Yamaha WR450F Rally over the summer months, the Botswana native heads to Morocco with confidence and a solid race strategy. With the entry list boasting a considerably deeper field of riders than previously seen this year, Ross is excited to see where he stacks up against the best rally racers in the world.

Adrien Van Beveren currently occupies sixth position in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship standings. Just a handful of points away from second place, a strong finish in Morocco will undoubtedly elevate the Frenchman up the leaderboard. Noting the Rallye du Maroc as one of his favourite rallies, Van Beveren is eager to get started and with the five-day race featuring plenty of sand dunes, he’s confident for a solid result.

As the winner of the event in 2019, Andrew Short knows just what it takes to be successful at the Rallye du Maroc. With the American spending ample time with the team in Europe during the summer, the 38-year-old’s focus was on further developing his Yamaha WR450F Rally in preparation for the upcoming races. Now, with an improved motorcycle, Short will give his very best effort to ensure his name features at the top of the timesheets on each day of the rally.

The Rallye du Maroc kicks off with a prologue to determine the starting order on Friday October 8 with stage one taking place the very next day. Four further stages then follow before the event draws to a close on Wednesday October 13.

Ross Branch

Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team

I’m super-excited for this rally. The Rallye du Maroc is known for being a bit like a mini-Dakar, so I feel like it’s going to be a good race but also good preparation for next January. This race will be a good test to see where my speed is against a full line-up of riders, but it’s also important to stay focused and concentrate on my own race. The team have done an incredible job over the summer, providing us with new parts, getting us all together in Europe, and there is such a positive atmosphere at the moment. We’ve all put a lot of miles in on the bikes and we’re ready to go racing. We have a pretty hectic schedule of racing coming up now and I’m really thankful to Yamaha and the whole team for giving me this opportunity.

Ross Branch – Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team
Adrien Van Beveren

Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team

I’m really happy to be racing again and the Rallye du Maroc is just a great rally. Morocco has some amazing desert and it’s just a big adventure with a true rally raid spirit, so it’s an awesome event for any rider to take part in. With the team, we’ve improved the bike and made a few changes recently and this rally will be the first time racing on the new set-up, so I’m excited to see how it performs. For the first time this year we have a full line-up of all the best rally racers so this adds to the challenge, but I feel really good, and I can’t wait to get started.

Adrien Van Beveren – Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team
Andrew Short

Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team

I’m really looking forward to this race as the last time I raced it, I won, so I have very fond memories of the event. I know the navigation is pretty challenging and the stages won’t be easy, but that’s what makes this a great rally to compete in. With the team we’ve had a really productive summer, testing new parts for the bike and the Rallye du Maroc will be a great place to give the bike a solid test in a race environment. It’s great to be with the team again for this rally and I’ll be giving it my all. After a short break in the calendar, it’s definitely exciting to be back racing again.

Andrew Short - Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team
Alexandre Kowalski

Yamaha Europe Off-Road Racing Manager

It’s been quite some time since the Silk Way Rally. Over the summer the team and the riders have been working really hard in preparation for the Rallye du Maroc. The pandemic has continued to make travel difficult, however we have been able to have the whole team together to test and ride for the very first time in preparation for this race, so the team spirit is really strong. Previously, the riders would train on their own, so to have them all together has been a great experience for everyone involved. It was a really productive time with a lot of hard work and testing completed and the riders are really motivated for strong results in Morocco. The team has a very busy few months coming up with the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge taking place a few weeks after the Rallye du Maroc is complete, and then it’s onto the Dakar in January. I’m confident in our bikes and our riders, so I really believe that we will be competitive, just like we saw with Ross winning Rally Kazakhstan and Adrien was also on the podium there. Andrew has shown good speed all year as well so I have a really good feeling about what the riders can achieve this year at the Rallye du Maroc.

Alexandre Kowalski - Yamaha Europe Off-Road Racing Manager