Friday 17th January, 2020 – Tidjikja to Idini
Stage 10 proved to be another very tough day for competitors and a mixed bag of results for the Coca-Cola Energy/Nomadas Adventure riders.
There was a heavy sandstorm all day making it difficult for riders to see, and several very bad crashes caused rally organisers to stop the stage at CP2. The decision was made because all helicopters were involved with rescuing injured riders.
Riders still needed to complete the 600km trip to the St Louis bivouac but results were taken from CP1.
Similar to what happened two days ago, many riders are still trying to get through the stage well into the night. At 11pm local time at least 15 bikes were still out in the stage.
Fellow Nomadas rider Ashish Raorane is one of the competitors who found himself stuck in the dunes on stage 8. He spent 13 hours in the dunes overnight and then another 17 in the valet truck to order to get out.
Andrew Houlihan dropped time and several places today finishing up 28th in the stage. That has also dropped him just outside the top 20 to 21st overall.
Andrew was struggling with some very bad cramping in his right hand during today’s stage, and had a heavy fall in the dunes.
And with easier days to come now he is in a good position to finish the event.
Pablo Guillen had a better day. A 15th on today’s stage moved him up to 17th overall.
He managed to set a good pace in the early part of the stage that ultimately counted towards today’s results.
Of the other Australians, Matt Sutherland (Lyndon Poskitt Racing KTM) is on his way to a top 10 finish while Peter Caldwell continues on strongly despite being well down the rankings.
Matt’s 9th placing today dropped him 1 place to 7th overall.
Peter Caldwell has been handed over of 15 hours in penalties throughout the rally, 8 hours and 45 minutes of that coming from stage 9 and presumably for navigation errors.
It’s a tough thing to even contemplate what could have been for Peter, but without the penalties he would be close to the top 20.
It gets easier from here!
Stage 11 will see the riders cross the border into Senegal as they approach the finish of the 2020 Africa ECO Race.
This stage has a 2km transfer to the start of a relatively short 187km special stage. The route will be relatively quick with some dune crossings but no major difficulties.
The last long liaison of the rally – 284km – will bring the riders into the bivouac on the old Saint Louis aerodrome.
St Louis is located in the north west of Senegal and situated near the mouth of the Senegal River.
- #175 – Andrew Houlihan
- #176 – Pablo Guillen
- #102 – Matt Sutherland
- #136 – Peter Caldwell
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