Houlihan’s Dakar Diary: Stage 6

Andrew Houlihan

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.

Stage 5 was tough on Andrew Houlihan. The high-speed impact that jarred his upper body was serious enough for the medical teams and rally officials to make a decision, one that none of us wanted – especially Andrew.

CLICK HERE for Stage 6 Bikes report

Today’s diary entry

My Dakar came to an end yesterday.

Not by my choice. The medical staff and officials will not let me continue due to my rib fractures.

I hit a deep hole at high speed. I didn’t come off the bike but jarred my upper body really bad. I rode very slowly to the refuelling point; it was only 20km.

When I got there, I asked the medical for some pain medication, and they wanted to know what I needed it for.

I made the mistake of mentioning rib and chest pain. Then they started feeling my rib area and poking to see where the pain was, which didn’t go very well.

After a long discussion/argument, I had to accept their decision to not allow me to continue in the race. As much as I hate it, their decision was final and for good reasons and I accept that.

This Dakar was always going to be a big challenge for me but I was getting through the days without too much trouble, taking my time and trying to enjoy it. The terrain is so demanding you have to stay focused 100 percent for every second as the smallest mistake can have severe consequences, and the speed you have to ride at is just crazy.

I was fully aware of the risks I was taking coming into Dakar, but now any small fall could have very serious consequences and I am putting a lot of people especially Katie and my children at an unnecessary risk.

The sand and dunes are like nothing we have in Australia so to train and prepare for Dakar you need to be in the sand and dunes in Africa or Saudi Arabia, something I didn’t get the chance to do prior to this Dakar.

But yesterday I had a great rhythm and flow through the larger dunes and really enjoyed them.

Yesterday was my best day so far and I’d worked my way up into 62nd position.

Katie and I will continue in with our Nomadas Adventure team for the remainder of Dakar with Pablo Guillen (#35 KTM) and Vasileios Boudros (#147 Husqvarna) our two riders still in the race.

Yes, I’m very disappointed with the outcome, but I accept it.

We thank my loyal sponsors for their incredible support, without them we couldn’t be here at all. And we are also very grateful for the support and messages we receive from all our followers. Thank you – all of you.

Let’s hope 2022 will be a year that I can fully recover and come back to Dakar 2023 injury free and 100 percent fit.

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