Tag Archive for: Saudi Arabia

The 2021 Dakar Rally is under way!

Motorcycle competitors began the short Prologue (Stage 0), consisting of 120km of liaison and 11km of special stage, around 10am local Saudi time today.

Four Australians are competing in the 2021 Dakar rally – KTM factory rider Toby Price (#3) with his teammate Daniel Sanders (#21), Michael Burgess (#80) and of course Andrew Houlihan (#62).

Andrew is once again competing for the Coca-Cola Nomadas Adventure team alongside long-term teammate Pablo Guillen.

Apart from Toby Price, who won the event in 2016 and 2019, all the other Australians are rookies in the Dakar.

Here’s where you can stay up to date during the event:

  • Road to Dakar 2021 website (roadtodakar.com.au) and Facebook page – daily updates on the Coca-Cola Nomadas Adventure team of Andrew Houlihan and Pablo Guillen.
  • Speedcafe (speedcafe.com) – daily updates with a daily diary from Andrew Houlihan.
  • Motorcycle Life website (motorcyclelife.com.au) and Facebook page – daily reports
  • The official Dakar website (dakar.com)
  • For Australian followers SBS TV will run a 30 minute highlights program daily at 5:30 pm local time (check your local TV Guide)
  • For followers in other countries, there are around 190 TV networks providing coverage of this year’s event, please check your local guides.

The 2021 Dakar Rally will take competitors through 4,800 km of special stages over 12 stages, all on tracks never seen in last year’s event.

This year also sees the return of some of the classic vehicles that forged the Dakar legend in a special parallel event – The Dakar Classic.

Highly regarded media icon Brett “Crusher” Murray is the latest in a respectable line of people who have thrown their support behind 2021 Dakar Rally entrant Andrew Houlihan.

Brett, who owns Gold Coast based BAM Group and speedcafe.com, has promoted and breathed life into iconic events including the Gold Coast Marathon, Australian Open Golf Tournament and the Gold Coast 600 Supercars event.

After moving to the Queensland Gold Coast in 1989, Brett started BAM Media. Using the skills and knowledge he developed while working in newspapers, Brett and his team have grown BAM Group – as it is now known – into a highly respected media outlet with an impressive client list.

But it was “Crusher’s” love of motorsport that was always going to drive him even further, and in 2009 he launched speedcafe.com.

Brett already had a long running involvement in motorsport and was recognised as a passionate authority around the paddocks. In fact, he has been a guiding influence with the Gold Coast 600 for over 20 years now.

He has also run his own car in the Indianapolis 500, and hired Sir Jack Brabham’s grandson Matt Brabham to drive it!

But he recognised there was a gap in the online media world and started speedcafe.com with the intention of bringing those old school journalistic ethics to a new digital medium.

The project became a massive success, and speedcafe.com is now the largest and most trusted independent motorsport news website in the world.

Albury based Andrew Houlihan, one of only 4 Australian riders competing in the 2021 Dakar Rally, believes Brett’s “can-do” attitude and extensive experience will be a great asset during the event.

“The Dakar Rally is already one of the toughest events in the world, but it’s been a very different build up to the 2021 event while we’ve been dealing with situations we have never seen before in the world.”

“So having Brett’s support and being able to draw on his knowledge and skills is going to be a great help. I’m really excited to have him onboard.”

Brett Murray joins a group of very dedicated supporters that have all helped Andrew achieve his dream of competing in the Dakar.

“I’m really grateful for the sponsorship from speedcafe.com and also for the many other organisations who have all thrown their support behind me in their own way to make this event possible for us.”

The 2021 Dakar Rally will be held in Saudi Arabia from the 3rd to 15th January. Andrew Houlihan will be joined by fellow Australians Michael Burgess, and KTM Factory riders Daniel Sandler and Toby Price.

It’s official – Andrew Houlihan is going to the Dakar Rally in 2021.

It’s been a long and uncertain journey (a bit like the Dakar Rally itself) over the last 6 months as we navigated our way through COVID-19 restrictions and the limitations placed on both domestic and international travel.

But Andrew has now been granted a travel exemption by the Australian Government that will allow him to leave Australia in early December and travel to Saudi Arabia for the event.

It was the last piece that needed to fall into place to allow the Albury based rider to fulfil his dream of competing in the toughest off road event in the world.

Andrew’s entry was accepted by rally organisers in May, but the uncertainty caused by the impact of COVID-19 meant that it was only in the last week that Andrew received approval to travel.

So it’s game on!

Despite the uncertainty that he would make it to the event, Andrew has quietly been preparing anyway.

He will compete on a new 2020 model KTM 450 Rally Factory Replica he has been preparing in his workshop in Albury.

Each week Andrew has been clocking up an average of 2-3,000 km on the new bike, including night riding and navigation training provided by his race team.

And while travel restrictions have prevented him from competing since finishing 21st in the Africa ECO Race last January, he has also been able to undergo several operations to repair damage to his ankle and thumb sustained in a major crash during the Hellas Rally in Greece in 2018.

Local daredevil Andrew Houlihan is preparing for the ride of his life in what is arguably the most deadly sporting even on the planet.

Local daredevil Andrew Houlihan is preparing for the ride of his life in what is arguably the most deadly sporting even on the planet.

Posted by PRIME7 News Border on Thursday, September 10, 2020

The Dakar Rally is recognised as one of the toughest motorsport events in the world, and is second only to Formula 1 in terms of popularity and worldwide coverage.

The 2021 event begins on the 3rd January and runs for 12 days. Competitors will cover a distance in excess of 7,500 km through a variety of terrain – and there’s always plenty of sand!

Entry to the event is only open to those who have a proven record in off-road rally raid events. The event organiser, ASO (Amaury Sport Organisation), has very strict entry requirements to ensure only the best riders and drivers in the world are allowed to compete.

Andrew has dedicated the past 2 years to preparing for the Dakar Rally by racing in qualifying events throughout Europe and Africa as part of the Nomadas Adventure Rally team based in Switzerland.

He is supported in the 2021 Dakar by a number of Australian businesses and by Coca-Cola Energy.

Through all the recent uncertainty Andrew’s commitment to his dream has won through, and he is on his way to Dakar!