11 months ago

Dirt and Trail Magazine 2021

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Monster Energy Yamaha

Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team’s Ross Branch claims victory at the opening round of the 2021 FIM Cross- Country Rallies World Championship, Rally Kazakhstan Sam Sunderland crashes out of the final stage breaking his pelvis. Argentina’s Lucio Alvarez and Botswana’s Ross Branch survived the rigours of the final stage to secure stunning victories in the car and motorcycle categories at Rally Kazakhstan on Sunday. Argentina’s Manuel Andujar takes top step on his Yamaha Raptor 700. With a four-minute lead entering the final day of racing at Rally Kazakhstan, Branch’s main objective was to maintain that gap over second-placed rider, Red Bull Factory Racing’s Matthias Walkner. In the end it was a tough call for Walkner who second rider away on the final stage and went on to finish two minutes down on Branch who took second on the stage which was won by Hero Motorsports rider Joaquim Rodrigues. After extending his lead to just over five minutes, Ross earned his first ever victory in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship. “All-in-all it’s been an amazing week here in Kazakhstan and I’m so happy to come away with the win.” Said Branch at the finish. “Before this race I really focused on working on my navigation and it certainly worked here. I opened stages and finished up front on each stage so I can’t ask for anything more. “Overall, I’ve really enjoyed the whole week. It’s great to be racing again and the team has done a fantastic job with the bike and it’s just been an awesome experience. I’m really happy to have won for myself and the team.” With a four-minute lead entering the final day of racing at Rally Kazakhstan, Ross Branch’s main objective was to deliver a consistent finish on stage five to claim the overall win. In placing second, Ross further extended his lead to just over five minutes to earn his first ever victory in the FIM Cross- Country Rallies World Championship. Broken pelvis for Sunderland The fifth stage of Rally Kazakhstan was cut short 158 kilometres into the special due to an issue with the event’s refuelling equipment, which affected all riders. It was short but it was long enough for Sam Sunderland to be caught out by an almost invisible depression in the dirt and crash at speed. Rockstar Husqvarna’s Luciano Benavides stopped to help Sam at the scene until medics arrived. Sunderland has since who said on his own social media channels that he has a broken pelvis but is thankful for the airbag system which prevented a worse injury. Walkner consistent for P2 Meanwhile ahead of Sunderland on the stage and on the timing sheets, KTM’s Matthias Walkner rounded out the week in second place after holding the position across the five stages. “Second place overall is good,” concluded the Austrian, “it’s a little frustrating to be just four minutes away from the win after close to 15 hours of racing, and I know I made a couple of mistakes earlier in the race that cost me that time, but this is the nature of rallying. I’m especially happy that on the days where I was opening the stage, I was able to maintain a good pace and not lose too much time to the guys behind, so that’s really encouraging. Adrien Van Beveren Rally Kazakhstan 2021 Andrew Short Rally Kazakhstan 2021 I’m feeling good and already looking forward to Silkway.” Yamaha puts Dakar gremlins to bed Joining Branch on the podium was his Yamaha Racing teammate Adrien Van Beveren in third. It was an equally consistent five days for the Frenchman who says he is not normally a fan of hard, fast and rocky terrain. Along with Andrew Short in fifth place overall it was a successful rally for team Yamaha . “I’m super-happy to have finished third overall in the rally.” Said Van Beveren. “It’s great for the team to have three riders in the top five and it’s nice to see Ross take the win, he deserved it. This rally isn’t really on my favoured terrain, I would have preferred more sand, so to finish third here is a great result for me. I’m now looking forward to the Silk Way Rally.” Because of a fuel logistical supply issue at the refuelling zone, the decision was taken to end the final stage for the motorcycles and quads 150KM’s short. It gave Hero’s Joaquim Rodrigues the opportunity to end a disappointing race on a high with the stage win. The Portuguese got the better of Branch by 67 seconds, with Daniel Sanders finishing third. However, our own Ross Branch did enough to claim a career-topping maiden FIM World Cup win on his Monster Energy Yamaha by the margin of 5min 07sec from Matthias Walkner (KTM). Adrien van Beveren (Yamaha) rounded off the podium places. Daniel Sanders (Gas-Gas) and Andrew Short (Yamaha) completed the top five. Bikes 1. Ross Branch (BWA) Yamaha WRF 450 14hr 39min 02sec 2. Matthias Walkner (AUT) KTM 450 Rally 14hr 44min 09sec 3. Adrien van Beveren (FRA) Yamaha WRF 450 14hr 49min 18sec 4. Daniel Sanders (AUS) KTM 450 Rally 15hr 10min 36sec 5. Andrew Short (USA) Yamaha WRF 450 15hr 11min 23sec 6. Luciano Benavides (ARG) Husqvarna HQV 450 Rally Replica 15hr 21min 30sec 7. Augusto Cabini (ITA) Honda CRF 450 RS 20hr 56min 01sec 8. Joaquim Rodrigues (PRT) Hero 450 Rally 23hr 25min 10sec 9. Franco Caimi (ARG) Hero 450 Rally 23hr 26min 03sec 10. Sebastien Bühler (DEU) Hero 450 Rally 23hr 27min 16sec 11. Skyler Howes (USA) Husqvarna HQV 450 Rally Replica 25hr 51min 37sec Quads 1. Manuel Andujar (ARG) Yamaha Raptor 700 19hr 51min 20sec 2. Rafal Sonik (POL) Yamaha Raptor 700 20hr 21min 15sec 3. Aleksandr Maksimov (RUS) Yamaha YMF 700R SE 21hr 34min 24sec Round two of the 2021 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship is the Silk Way Rally on July 1-11. Daniel Sanders on his Factory Gasgas Rally Kazakhstan 2021 Matthais Walkner Rally Kazakhstan 2021