Mexican rider Pablo Guillen has once again shown that he is a serious contender in desert rallies after claiming 4th place in the opening stage of the 2020 Sonora Rally in Mexico.

Pablo, of course, is the Coca-Cola Energy/Nomadas Adventure teammate of Albury international Andrew Houlihan.

The two riders competed together in the 2020 Africa ECO Race – where Pablo finished 17th outright and second in the +450cc class. Andrew and Pablo will be racing together again later in the year as they both prepare for the 2021 Dakar Rally.

Riding an Husqvarna TE 500, Pablo finished the 228km first stage just 8 minutes and 10 seconds behind 2020 Dakar winner Ricky Brabec, and just under 4 minutes ahead of Australian Matthew Sutherland who finished the stage in 6th place.

Both Brabec and Sutherland are skilled racers and well experienced in the Dakar Rally, so Pablo’s placing is a strong indication of his ever-developing skills and progress towards the Dakar Rally in January 2021.

Day 2 brought mixed fortunes for many riders. Ricky Brabec took the stage win, Matt Sutherland dropped to 32nd overall after engine failure and despite losing some time during the stage, Pablo remains 13th overall and 10th in his class out of the 43 motorcycle competitors.

Pablo is also currently 4th in the “Road To Dakar” category.

Held over a series of events this year, this classification is open to all competitors who have currently not competed in the Dakar Rally. The winner will be given free entry and the coveted title of the first official competitor of the 2021 Dakar Rally.

The 5 day Sonora Rally is held in the state of Sonora, Mexico’s second largest state. With a sparse population, diverse economy and a spectacular mountainous and arid landscape, Sonora gives competitors the perfect environment for a true Dakar style adventure. Starting in the state’s capital Hermosillo, the rally travels through a number of municipalities before ending in San Luis Rio Colorado, a burgeoning manufacturing centre and the gateway to the Colorado River Delta, on Friday 20th March.