Houlihan’s Dakar Diary: Stage 4

Andrew Houlihan

The tyre

Australian Andrew Houlihan is competing in his first Dakar event. Speedcafe.com is proudly one of Houlihan’s sponsors and he will be filing a Dakar Daily Diary for us each day to give readers a real insight into the world’s toughest event.

After tyre troubles, a rider crashing in front of him and having to deal with chaotic traffic on the way into Riyadh, Houlihan still managed to pick up two places today to finish on 67th overall.

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Today’s diary entry

I felt today was a good day until about 40km before the end of the 340km special when the mousse in my rear tyre blew.

I limped into the final checkpoint to finish the day, and then the tyre finally shredded itself on the liaison into Riyadh. Somehow, I managed to make it to the bivouac in the dark by about 7:15pm.

Pablo made it there only about 30 minutes before me.

In the end it was a real struggle to keep the bike straight, and the traffic was chaotic. I had a close call with a truck along the way.

I also stopped briefly to check on another rider today. He didn’t notice the triple caution coming up, hit a hole and went flying right in front of me! He seemed okay so I kept going.

It’s been a very fast day with about 30km of big steep dunes, the longest day of the rally, and I’d had a really good run until the tyre let go.

But I feel in better shape than yesterday; it’s just a bit frustrating with the tyre because it cost me a lot of time.

Not so bad though, the guys tell me I managed to pick up a couple of places overall today anyway!

I’ll rest up tonight; they’re saying that tomorrow may be the toughest stage of the rally.

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