Dec 15, 2018

Hellas Rally Day 6: Australian Rider Andrew Houlihan Set To Complete Rally Despite Disappointments

Hellas Rally Greece 2018 day 6
Day 5 of the 2018 Hellas Rally Greece has been frustrating for many competitors. (Photo: Actiongraphers)

Aussie rider Andrew Houlihan has had a frustrating day on Day 5 of the 2018 Hellas Rally.

Before the start of the day’s racing, Andrew was told he would not be credited back the time he lost assisting Italian rider Lorenzo Cirri after his crash on day 2. That leaves Andrew in 44th position overall.

That’s still a very credible result given it’s Andrew’s first event of this kind. Many riders have not made it this far in the rally – only 186 bikes are left!

With 3 special stages and very difficult navigation on day 5, it was always going to be challenging for the remaining riders.

Errors in the roadbook have caused many riders to get lost, including Andrew. And two more serious crashes have caused the final stage to be closed by the police again with 50 riders having to be escorted out.

Consequently, results from the day are still being finalised for the second day in a row.

Andrew’s comments from Day 6:

“I thought, ‘today is a long day and a chance to make up some time’.”

“I had a great start time at 7.26am and we were into our first special stage within an hour. It was only 90km but we had everything, we rode up a fast flowing creek bed in ankle to knee deep water for 4-5 km which was great. Then we were up into the mountains again.”

“I only got lost once in the first stage for about 6 minutes and finished in 30th position for the stage.”

“The second stage was 140km long and there were quite a few errors in our roadbooks, meaning – everyone got lost. Badly! Bikes and SSV’s were scattered everywhere.”

“The last stage was only 96km long and was fast and open which suited me. I started the stage very well and by the 90km mark had overtaken 15 riders and was looking good to finish in the top 20 for the day.”

“Then disaster struck.”

“Lack of experience and over confidence bought me unstuck with only 6km to go. I misread my roadbook where there were two tracks very close to each other. I took the wrong track which descended into a steep downhill dead end.”

“Whilst trying to turn the bike around I ended up sliding down with the bike into a steep 10m deep gully with no way out.”

“I tried riding up the gully and eventually found a way to get out onto a different track. I was now lost on a track not marked on my roadbook and had no idea which direction to go.”

“After 30-40 minutes I eventually found a waypoint marked in my roadbook and rode out.”

Hellas Rally Greece 2018 day 6
(Photo: Actiongraphers)

Despite the setbacks and disappointments, Andrew is set to complete his first international rally. The final day is only 200km and finishes on the beach.

And along the way, he has had a taste of what it is like to compete in this type of event, as well plenty of Greek food and hospitality. 🙂

It’s all good preparation for an assault on Dakar.

He’s also experienced the comradery that exists between competitors, and says he’s struck up a great friendship with the Italian rider he assisted.

“Lorenzo has raced many different rally’s and has been giving some great advice, mostly in Italian, but through hand gestures and plenty of laughs we seem to be able to communicate.”


Follow Andrew’s story here: