Houlihan extends Baja World Championship lead

Houlihan extended his points lead on his new KTM 450 Baja bike

Australian ace Andrew Houlihan has extended his lead in the veteran’s class and is now equal-second in the FIM 450 World Cup class after round three of the FIM Baja World Cup in Spain.

Houlihan continued his consistency from the opening two events on a brand new KTM 450 prepared by Dimitri Lassithiotakis and Aurora Rally Equipment in Greece.

He battled difficult conditions on the first day, but managed to race with the leaders.

After the stages and the transitions, by the time he arrived back at the bivouac he had been on the bike for no less than 12 hours and was cramping badly for the last three of those.

“We were riding the car and buggy route from the morning and it was destroyed,” said Houlihan, who has sponsorship from Speedcafe.

“It was extremely dangerous everywhere with massive rocks hidden in the bull dust and deep holes.

“There were many destroyed cars and SSVs along the route from the morning’s stage”

The final day of competition comprised two 90km stages with another 180km of transition.

“Today was more enjoyable than yesterday with a mix of fast flowing tracks and narrow windy tracks through the forest,” said Houlihan.

“The navigation today was quite easy and quite a few times I hit 150km/h. Only once did I nearly crash and that was at 150km/h around a sweeping gravel track. I veered off the track into long grass and thankfully there were no rocks or hidden stumps.

“There were a couple more bad accidents today and unfortunately a SSV hit one of the photographers and he ended up with a broken leg and some minor head injuries.”

Although he rode conservatively again, Houlihan still finished second overall in the veterans class and fifth overall in the 450cc World Cup Class.

After 890km, including 500km of selective sections, Portuguese rider David Megre won the Baja TT Dehesa Extremadura ahead of leading Veteran Pedro Bianchi Prata and Spanish local Sara Garcia, who became the second woman to reach the podium this year.

Houlihan will return to Spain for round four of the World Cup on July 21-23.

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