Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team
Watch out too for the formidable lineup of talent heading to Dakar from Yamaha. For the first time in the team’s history the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team will enter the Dakar Rally with five riders. Van Beveren, Caimi, Short, Branch and McCanney.
Leading the team is the experienced Frenchman Adrien Van Beveren. Fully focused on his dream of winning the Dakar Rally, after spending the early part of 2020 recovering from surgery, he more recently spent much of the autumn and early winter in Dubai, re-acquainting himself with the same desert conditions he will face this January. Currently feeling strong and riding as well as he’s ever done following a positive outing at the Hail Rally, Van Beveren is set to take on the Dakar Rally in arguably his best ever form.
Van Beveren explained: “Since my crash at Dakar in 2020 it took two surgeries before I could work on my full recovery. I had six months off the bike, but I now feel really good. I’m not deterred by my crash last year and I still dream of winning the Dakar. This has been my motivation to work hard and prepare myself for 2021. My training has gone really well and I have been in Dubai riding in the dunes for a while now, so I feel like I am back to my best. I managed to race the Hail Rally recently, which was a positive part of my training. With the race taking place on the same terrain as the Dakar it also included tricky navigation, so it was perfect for me to race there. My bike is good and I feel good, so I am really confident now and I can’t wait to go racing again.”
Franco Caimi was a consistent threat for top five stage results throughout the 2020 Dakar Rally, with the 32-year-old ultimately placing eighth overall to match his career-best result from the 2017 edition. Since then, Franco returned home to his native Argentina and following a brief recovery period and time to reflect, he switched his attention to the 2021 edition. Now, with months of focused training under his belt, Caimi is confident in establishing himself as a title contender.
Since joining the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team in March 2020, Andrew Short has spent much of the year riding in the Nevada desert, becoming fully acquainted with his Yamaha WR450F Rally machine. Following months of training, he made his racing debut with the team at the Andalucia Rally in Spain where a positive result saw Short confidently adjust to his new team surroundings and further develop his bike set-up. Looking ahead, Andrew has drawn upon his experiences from previous Dakars to form a solid race strategy heading into the 2021 event as he looks forward to taking on the Dakar rally challenge.
Much like his teammates Franco and Andrew, Ross Branch has spent much of 2020 training, clocking up countless miles on his Yamaha WR450F Rally in his Botswana homeland. Working on further improving his roadbook skills, and now armed with the full support of the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team, Ross is excited to race at the 43rd edition of the Dakar. With Branch looking to harness his raw speed to ensure consistently high stage results, the 34-year-old is aiming for a top 10 overall result.
The team’s youngest rider is 26-year-old Jamie McCanney, who is well prepared for what will be his second Dakar Rally. Still very new to the discipline, the Manxman made his Dakar debut a little over a year ago, making positive steps as the event progressed. Towards the end of the two-week race, Jamie enjoyed some rapid progress, delivering his best on stage 11 with sixth overall – a result that helped push him up the leaderboard to 15th in the final classification. With valuable experience earned, and with more time spent working on the set-up of his Yamaha WR450F Rally, McCanney is confident of improving upon his debut result.
That’s just on two wheels though. Add another set of wheels for the car and side-by-side classes, and the battle for victory tages just as fiercely.