Houlihan’s Dakar Diary: Stage 2

Andrew Houlihan. Picture: Florent Gooden/DPPI

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

A heavy fall for Andrew Houlihan, fan favourite Danilo Petrucci is out, and a change in the overall lead – how quickly things can change in the Dakar Rally!

CLICK HERE for Stage 2 Bikes report

Today’s diary entry

We’re in a desert and it seems to rain every night!

It was another cold start and with the cloud cover we had all day the dunes were still wet from last night’s rain when we got to them.

It seemed like nothing but sand and dunes and more sand today. There was a lot of very fast deep sandy tracks in the morning and after refuelling we had and endless stretch of big dunes. We did a total of 780 km today and 340 km of it was sand and dunes.

Navigation was easy today as there were tracks to follow.

I was having a great ride until about 140km into the stage when I went down hard in the sand at a high-speed. My airbag vest deployed and saved me from any serious injury.

Houlihan in the bivouac

I sat in the sand for 30 minutes getting my composure back and fitting a new cylinder to the vest and waited for another rider to help get my bike out of the sand.

I’m starting to feel the effects of not having enough time on the bike in preparation for this rally. It’s only Day 2 but I am feeling very tired and sore.

Despite the fall, I managed to pick up a few places today. I think I’m now 112th overall and 83rd in the Rally 2 group.

Because of the changes to Stage 2 today, we now do a loop from Al Qaisumah and back for Stage 3, a 381km liaison and 255km special.

The rain we’ve had will help to pack the sand down, but the tracks will be less visible. Should be interesting!

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