Interview with 2024 Dakar Rally 3rd Place Finisher Adrien Van Beveren

Published On: 1/26/2024

After eight Dakar Rally starts, two with the Monster Energy/Honda Team, Adrien Van Beveren was finally able to lock down his first podium finish.

After eight Dakar Rally starts, two with the Monster Energy/Honda Team, Adrien Van Beveren was finally able to lock down his first podium finish – a highly impressive 3rd place run that put him on the overall motorcycle division box with teammate Ricky Brabec (1st) and runner-up, Monster Energy’s Ross Branch (Hero Motosports), to complete the historic All-Monster Energy sweep of the 46th Dakar Rally podium.

The French off-road great started off a bit slow through the first stages at Dakar, but really kicked things into high gear when organizers wicked up the event’s difficulty level – separating the racers from the teams (mechanics, support crew) in a grueling 48-hour “Chrono” Stage(s, 6a & 6b) – which Van Beveren won.

After the Chrono 48 “AVB” (as he’s affectionately known) rode consistent, “had fun,” and came within a minute of taking the runner-up spot from Branch (roughly 10 min. back of Brabec), finishing on the podium pretty much daily in Week 2 of the competition.

Pumped with his effort, Van Beveren took some time to give the readers another racer’s eye view of this year’s Dakar Rally. Check it out…


Right out of the gate, please explain the feeling of completing the Dakar Rally.

“You know, to finish Dakar is always a victory. And to finish this Dakar, as tough as it was, feels good. But finally for me to step on this podium makes it that much more special. It’s been eight years that I’ve been racing Dakar and I’ve been really close to the podium sometimes. And sometimes I felt unlucky. Sometimes I think ‘Maybe I’m not on the right team. Maybe I’m not making the right decisions. Questioning myself on why I crashed? Why I lost this podium. It was kind of a weight on my shoulders. And to finally release that, to jump on this podium and be up front, bring a trophy back home. Looking at my past, this, again, is something really special for me. More than happy. I’m like Finally!”


What was the high point for you at this year’s Rally?

“Definitely the high point was the Chrono 48 stage (Stages 6a & 6b) on the Empty Quarter where it was only dunes. I know that I am fast on the dunes and I knew that I could make a good push and take back a lot of time on the others and get back on the podium4 8 hour stage. We slept in the desert. We slept in a tent with just military food. It was like an adventure at the same time. We didn’t see the team for two days, then to finally get back to the team with a stage win and to get back on the overall and back into the fight (for the podium) was really good for me. This was the moment where I said to myself ‘OK, let’s go for it.’”


Conversely, what point of Dakar challenged you the most? Was it the overall distance of this year’s Dakar? And how did that effect you and your Monster Energy/Honda Team teammates?

The Dakar this year was really long. We had long stages – maybe only two stages less than 400 k. Every day, wake up super early, make the liaison, but race for really, really long. I we check the amount of hours we’ve done this year it’s probably bigger than any other year I’ve done. So the mental and physical focus at this year’s Dakar was the most difficult. The most challenging. Because if you lose the focus you can get lost. But also, you can kill yourself. If you just miss one drop it can be ‘Game Over.’ So really it’s tough to keep the focus all the way, and I’m really proud to make it to the end.”


Discuss that second week of Dakar. You really picked it up, and put yourself in a position for the overall podium with your fellow Monster Energy-backed competitors – Ricky Brabec and Ross Branch.

“The second week I was on the podium almost every day. I opened Day Seven by losing time at the beginning, but then from there I was every day in the fight. 1 or 3 every day. Been in the fight until the end, only one minute behind Ross Branch (Hero Motosports, fueled by Monster Energy) and ten minutes behind Ricky (Brabec, AVB’s Monster Energy/Honda Team teammate). And if you think about it, it’s less than one minutes per day when you’re racing six hours per day. This is what makes the race so interesting and so exciting. And so good when you win like Ricky did. You have to have respect for his win. He experienced the win before, and made it happen again. He managed the race really good.”


Discuss for a moment your motorcycle. In the case of the Honda CRF450 Rally, there were a lot of changes from the riders’ input from last year’s Dakar that were implemented in the new model. Discuss how this year’s model out-performed last year’s model, and the area it did so.

“I joined Monster Energy/Honda last year, and before, I would say, I raced with the old fashioned bike. So I’ve had one year on the new bike. And we started to develop the new bike in March of last year (2023). I’ve been to Japan twice to help the development. And yeah, it is amazing. The bike is completely new, not just some changes. It’s a new bike and they’ve built for us, with our feedback. When they brought the bike to Morocco (for Monster Energy/Honda Team press photos) I was really lost at the beginning. I struggled to get confident with the bike.


Were the Honda factory engineers quick to step in and help with the adjustment period for you on the CRF450 Rally?

Yes, they knew the thing I wanted was to adapt to my technical skills and my riding style, and I was so glad the Japanese just accepted that and made it happen. It was small changes in the end, but it made a big difference. I requested these differences, and they did it, and that was a game changer when I finally, maybe just a week or so before the race, got confident, was feeling good on the bike, and finally able to ride without thinking of what’s going to happen. Just enjoy my ride and navigate. Head up and twist the throttle. So when all this was together it allowed me to match so good with the bike now. I’m so happy about that because it was a tough moment for me in October when this new bike arrived.”


Despite a rough start it sounds like in the end you were pretty pumped with the new Honda CRF450 Rally.

I was excited, but not able to go fast with it was like a big disappointment in my head. A big question mark like ‘How am I going to do for Dakar? How am I going to ride this? Because with the level I was riding at that time, I wouldn’t have even been able to find the top five. And I found solutions super quick. Again, I brought the Japanese with me on this new setup. And we got through it together. It was for sure a game changer. And I’m proud of this bike. I love it. I felt so confident on it. I didn’t get scared or any complaints. I could push as much as I wanted you know, while, for sure, respecting the dangers. But I could push – and enjoy my riding at the same time.”


Were there any other words of encouragement from your team that you remember?

“I remember Joe (Parsons, Monster Energy rep) would say to me every morning ‘Adrien, enjoy your ride on your motorbike.’ And this was key. Because when you race 15 days in a row, and you don’t enjoy it, you don’t do nothing good.”


This year’s Dakar route was said to be different from past years. What’s your opinion on the route? Was it more challenging that previous Saudi Dakars? Or somewhat similar?

“I’d say this Dakar was probably the longest race, and probably the toughest race in off-road. Compared to the other disciplines, I think it is more complete, you know? You need to read the terrain. You need to read the roadbook. You need to interpret this road of paper. In reality, you need to go fast.”


And not just fast, but with skills also. And isn’t that what separates Dakar from other great off-road endurance races?

Yes, for sure. You need skills so you can ride in the dust, in the sand, in the mud, in the rocks, in the piste, in the off=-piste, in the dunes, in the sun, with no light, in the shadows, with cold, with hot – you have to face many, many conditions in one single race. You are alone with your bike. There is no crew member with you. But for sure it is all the team that works. We sleep a few hours. You wake up super early. You need to manage your nerves. So I think Dakar is the most complete discipline in motorsports. So many parameters. So many things you need to link together to be able to be in the front of the Dakar.”


Thank you, Adrien. And again, a heartfelt congratulations from everyone at Monster Energy.

“Thank you to Monster very much. I see the Monster brand everywhere around the world and I am very proud to race for them, give my best and make the results that make us all happy. Thank you again to everyone at Monster.”


Up next…

That concludes the 2024 Dakar Rally. Next up on the FIM World Rally Raid Championship series schedule is the Feb. 25 through March 4 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. For more information, including “Live” timing and scoring, visit