Africa Eco Race 2020 Stage 9, a 469km loop in the desert around Tidjikja, Mauritania, was promised to be among the most beautiful by the AER organizers. “This portion of the route has never been used in the Africa Eco Race before”, the rally staff has commented. Vast open spaces and large sand dunes dominated the landscape today.
The fight for the top three Africa Eco Race positions continues between Italian Alessandro Botturi, Norwegian Anders Pal Ullevasleter, and Italian Paolo Lucci with Lyndon Poskitt currently being fourth overall. How he manages to race, take care of his team, and produce these amazing videos, is beyond me – but enjoy them while you can:
Africa Eco Race 2020 Stages 7 and 8 seem to have been especially tough for pro and amateur riders alike. Tricky navigation has cost riders time after getting lost in the desert; only today, it seems, the terrain was more forgiving with flowing sandy tracks.
There are 94 competitors listed in the original AER entry list in the motorcycle category, yet only 63 riders remain fighting in the dunes of Mauritania as of today. Julie Vanneken, a Dutch KTM rider, seems to be the only female competitor in the AER’s motorcycle class, currently holding 53th position overall.
Aussie Andrew Houlihan, Dakar 2021 hopeful, has risen in the overall rankings and is currently in the 17th position. As the race is well past the halfway point now, Andrew’s updates have naturally gone much shorter. “Tough day today, tougher day tomorrow”, he told me yesterday.
Only three stages remain before the race finishes in Dakar, Senegal, this Sunday. With Rally Dakar having everyone glued to their phones, as there is a good chance an American might win the Dakar for the first time in history, Africa Eco Race may receive less attention – but it is no less exciting, following the original Paris – Dakar route.