Preparation, preparation, preparation. Nothing could be more key to being successful on Endurance Rallies. As part of the work-up for the world’s longest and toughest off-road endurance event, the Rally Dakar - the world’s elite off-road racers descended on Southern Spain last weekend for the Andalucia Rally.
A blistering four stage smash and grab around the back-country surrounding Jerez, Seville and the race’s namesake Andalucia. When the dust settled, it was an awesome double podium lockout for Monster Energy athletes in both two- and four-wheel categories.
Argentinean rider Kevin Benavides claimed the top spot on his HRC bike, while French racer Adrien Van Beveren completed an incredible comeback from injury after his big accident during in January at Dakar 2020.
HRC rider Joan Barreda, also displayed a solid turn of pace, winning one stage and then finishing in fifth overall. José Ignacio Cornejo, the Chilean rider from Iquique posted a twelfth final position and Ricky Brabec took fourteenth. Both stressed the difficulties they had experienced adjusting to the particular Andalusian terrain.
“I went out intending to ride a stage with good pace, focusing on not making any mistakes,” explained Benavides. “Obviously we haven’t been doing a lot of racing since the Dakar but I have been training hard and working with a sports psychologist to maximize my performance. I live near Salta and the tracks there aren’t dissimilar to what we discovered here in Andalusia so that helps. I didn’t really have a strategy I just took each day at a time.
“The bike went really well and the team did a great job. I’m very happy with this win: I needed it too. It’s a victory that rewards all the effort we have made. Now, we are going to continue with all the preparations to reach the 2021 Dakar in even better conditions. Thank you very much to the entire team for an exceptional job done every single day and for keeping the bike running perfectly throughout the race.”
Adrien Van Beveren added: “After my crash on the Dakar, for the first time in my career, I wondered if I really wanted to continue racing. I thought about it a lot and in the end I decided to continue for myself, for my personal satisfaction.
“That’s not to say I’m not grateful to my team and my sponsors, but it was an important shift in mentality for me. So, to come back here and prove to myself that I am capable of running at the top of the pack is a grand satisfaction. Many thanks to David Castera and his team for making this race possible.”
The Monster Energy Can Am Team - at the hands of Polish driver Aron Domżala and Spaniard Gerard Farrés, and their co-drivers - locked out the T4 class in first and second.
Monster Energy South Racing Can-Am team boss Scott Abraham said: “This has been a great weekend in Andalucia for Monster Energy Can-Am. The team put on a commanding performance, once again, and showed that the Maverick is the car to beat in the SSV category. Aron and Maciej were strong throughout the event and Gerard and Austin were consistent, with Austin winning a stage.
“I am really happy with the overall position and also with the speed of the drivers. We now look forward to the next events in the calendar - Baja Portalegre at the start of November before we go on to the Middle East for Baja Dubai and the Ha’il rallies. Then we head to the big one, the Dakar, at the start of 2021.”