Houlihan’s Dakar Diary: Stage 5

Andrew Houlihan

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.

With the help of a little rain and some very smart decisions, Houlihan has had an exceptionally good day in what organisers said would be the toughest stage of the rally, rising to 63rd overall.

CLICK HERE for Stage 5 Bikes report

Today’s diary entry

That was a long and gruelling stage today!

I got back into the bivouac about 7:50pm. I’d been in the saddle for over 13 hours, and I was cold and hungry.

After a Coca-Cola and a huge bowl of pasta I think I came good.

There was a light shower of rain near the beginning of the special and many of the riders became lost.

I came over a dune and saw a lot of bikes and quads buzzing around in all directions. I stopped to size things up and thought ‘none of these guys have got it right so I’m not following them!’

Instinct told me just to head in the general direction of the cap heading. Eventually I saw two quads roaring around the corner flat out, and I figured if those guys were going that quick and it was in the general direction of the cap they might be onto it, so I followed them along a gully and this eventually lead to the correct track.

It worked, I picked up about 20 places today and at one time I was placed 28th in the stage.

Later on in the stage, I saw my mate Michael Burgess ahead of me so I chased him down. Michael got a glimpse of me and then he just turned up the pace across the rocks. I let him go, I wasn’t going to take that much risk.

Some sad news though. My Indian riding buddy, Ashish [Raorane], who rode with the Nomadas team a while ago, came off today and had to be taken to hospital.

The dunes today were huge and there were lots of them, and just when you thought they were over – no they weren’t! It was relentless.

I reckon there might be a few riders that won’t get through the stage tonight.

Even though it was long and extremely exhausting, it was a great day. I had no offs, no penalties and no bike issues.

I’m off to bed to get some rest, I start at 6:36am in the morning.

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