Day 3 was always going to be a tougher day in the Greek terrain, but Andrew Houlihan today showed why these rallies bring competitors together.
Andrew was riding well in the first of the three special stages when the rider in front of him broke a chain and crashed. In the true spirit of these type of events, Andrew stopped to help – sacrificing around 30 minutes.
It’s common for riders to band together and support each other, and the comradery between the competitors is something that attracted Andrew to the sport.
The stop dropped Andrew to provisional 50th place for the day.
Andrew is hoping that the rally organisers honour the rules and credit back the time he spent assisting the other rider, but says the language barrier isn’t helping.
We will update Andrew’s confirmed placing after day 3 as news comes through.
Andrew’s comments from Day 3:
“I thought yesterday’s mountains were big, today we went climbed higher again. Not sure how high we climbed today, there was small traces of snow and some massive sheets of ice at the top.”
“The start of the 1st stage was going well until the rider in front had his chain break and he come off his bike, I decided to stay with him to make sure he was ok and help repair his chain, eventually after 30mins we were going again, but had lost a huge amount of time and now had the buggies in front of us.”
“The SSV buggies are crazy and because of my stop to help the other rider 5 buggies got in front of me. These guys really live on the edge with the way they drive.”
“As I came up behind one to try and overtake, the rear wheel of the buggy hit a big rock, flipped and rolled several times right in front of me and was wedged upside down against the embankment. Two more buggies were behind me so I let them deal with the carnage.”
“Today was again approximately 400km and probably the most difficult terrain so far.”
“My stop to help the other rider today has put me back to 50th overall, but with 4 more days to go hopefully I can gain a few more places.”
Events such as the Hellas Rally are tough on competitors, and it takes just as much mental stamina as physical fitness to compete at this level.
Andrew is racing for 10-11 hours each day, then spending another 2 hours marking up the roadbook for the next day. He’s getting to bed about midnight and then up again at 5.30 to start another day.
Day 4 is a shorter day but probably more demanding.
There are 2 special stages with a combined distance of just under 150km, and only around 30 km of liaison. But the riders will climb even higher to altitudes of over 2000m through forest trails, average speeds are expected to be slow and the navigation hard!
Follow Andrew’s story here:
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