July 24, 2024

Hellas Rally Day 2: Andrew Houlihan Improves Overall Position To 35th

Hellas Rally Raid 2018 day 2
Day 2 of the 2018 Hellas Rally Raid had competitors pushing through beaches, sand dunes and rocky mountains. (Photo: Actiongraphers)

After the second day of competition in the 2018 Hellas Rally Raid, Australia’s only entrant – Andrew Houlihan – has moved up the overall classification with another strong performance.

Andrew (KTM EXC 450) finished 43rd in today’s MotoQuad classification, and is now placed 35th overall and 11th in his class (M2 350-450cc).

Remarkably, he is now placed better than some of the Elite class riders in his first international rally.

His time of 4:45:21 for today’s 2 special stages was just 2 seconds behind that of Czech rider Michal Skolnik, also on a KTM EXC 450, and his performance has moved him well up the starting list for day 3.

Andrew will start at 7.34am local time (2.34pm AEST), just one minute behind Michal Skolnik. That sets the scene for an interesting battle between the two KTM riders despite Andrew holding a 12 minute 59 second lead over Skolnik in the overall standings.

The day was marred by a protest by conservationists. Andrew says, “A group of conservationists parked their 4WD across the track and as we slowed down they tried to push us off the bikes. We were both being attacked while an older guy grabbed handfuls of sand and threw it in my face. We managed to get away but these idiots tried this on every rider until the police arrived.”

Hellas Rally Raid 2018 - tough sand dunes
(Photo: Actiongraphers – http://actiongraphers.com)

Andrew’s comments from Day 2:

“It was a fast track through the hills and the onto the beach sand dunes, which I have been waiting for. Myself and another rider immediately made up 4-5 positions through the first dune section.”

“We had a few deep water crossings on the beach which drowned quite a few bikes.”

“From the beach we headed up into the mountains and I mean up, not sure what the altitude change was but we climbed forever, it was very technical and demanding types of tracks. Extremely steep and rocky, I had a small crash and broke the clutch lever on my bike as well as damaged part of the navigation, which was easily fixed.”

“The SSV buggies were also a problem today with a few near death moments overtaking them.”

“The second special stage was again very demanding and long, big steep rocky downhills and any mistakes would send you over some pretty big cliffs.”

“The liaison stages through small Greek villages were great, with heaps of people in the streets to cheer the riders on.”

Day 3 involves 3 special stages of 96km, 112km and 56km. The average speed is expected to be medium to fast, the navigation easy but the riders will reach altitudes of over 1500 metres.

Follow Andrew’s story here: