An issue with fuel caused Colorado native Andrew Short to retire from the 2021 Dakar Rally during stage two of racing on just the second day of the 12-day event. Short suffered an issue with his bike coming to a stop because of water in his fuel tanks.
Short called in from Saudi Arabia on last night's PulpMX Show (which is something only Andrew Short would do). He explained how bummed he was to be forced out of a race due to a problem that was out of his hands. Short tried every mechanical fix he could think of, from fuel pumps to wiring to batteries and all, using both his own mechanical knowledge and then further advice from his team via satellite phone. In the end, the bike would not work, and his race was over. Here are some quotes from Short as he explained the deal to Matthes and crew:
“I tried to fix it—dude I changed everything on my bike: I was hard wiring switches, and going to direct tower, and trying to pressurize the pump from the battery, all kinds of stuff. I put a stock ECU on, I mean I worked out there for hours and I couldn’t get it to go. That’s this race. It’s like Dakar has its own rules. So yeah, it’s over.”
Short displayed his disappointment with an issue beyond his control, especially at such a unique event:
“It’s kinda like Loretta Lynn’s as an amateur: your whole year is based on one race and you’re all-in on for one race, and when something goes bad, it goes really bad, but when it goes good, it’s something special.”
Short said he would like to take one more shot at the race in 2022
“I have a lot to look forward to. I’m going to try this race one more time. I’m hooked on this thing: it’s so cool and it’s a really special race and it’s like nothing else. I want to give it one more try.”
Watch PulpMX Show #449 below, with Short calling in at the 3:31:50 mark.
Upshift Online posted the following photo of one of Short's front fuel tanks, showing the amount of water in it.
Short was one of only three Americans racing this year’s bike event, as he joined 2020 champion Ricky Brabec of the Monster Energy Honda Team and Skyler Howes of the BAS Dakar KTM Racing Team. With Short’s early exit, Brabec and Howes are now the lone American bike competitors.
Below is the official press release from Yamaha:
Contaminated Fuel Results in Short's Exit from Dakar Rally
Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team rider, Andrew Short, was forced to retire from the 2021 Dakar Rally during yesterday's Stage 2 from Bisha to Wadi Ad-Dawasir, after coming to a halt shortly after the second refuelling stop 267km into the special stage. Despite his best efforts, the American was unable to restart the bike, leaving him with no option but to abandon the race.
Subsequent inspection of the bike on its return to the bivouac identified the problem as contaminated fuel, with a significant amount of water found to be present in both the fuel tank and the fuel pump on Short's bike.
Water was also found in the fuel of Short's Monster Energy Yamaha teammate Franco Caimi when his fuel tank was drained after the stage. Fortunately for the Argentinian, the fuel contamination wasn't as severe as that of his teammate and he was able to complete the day's stage.
As the contaminated fuel that caused the problem for Short was supplied by the organisers, and was therefore outside of the team's control, the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team lodged an official request to the FIM to freeze the results of the stage at Checkpoint 2. This would have allowed Short to start the race today. This request was rejected and, as a result, Short will play no further part in the 2021 Dakar Rally.
Because of the fuel contamination, the fuel tanks on all four of the remaining Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team bikes had to be drained and the fuel pumps replaced ahead of today's 629km Stage 3 around Wadi Ad-Dawasir.
Alexandre Kowalski - Yamaha Europe Off-Road Racing Manager
“I am sad and disappointed for Andrew. He has put so much time and energy into preparing for the Dakar Rally, his first with the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team, and we had high hopes of him fighting at the front coming into the event. Andrew was given fuel from a new fuel can at the second refuelling stop on Stage 2 yesterday and this fuel was obviously contaminated with water, which ended up in his fuel tank. To see him forced out of the rally, after a massive amount of preparation work by both him and the team, by something that was completely outside of our control is incredibly frustrating. As the contaminated fuel was supplied by the organisers, we submitted a request to the FIM to freeze the results at Checkpoint 2, which would have allowed Andrew to start today, but this request was rejected. It's disappointing for everyone, but the race continues and now we need to focus on our four remaining riders, all of whom are doing a great job. This year we are really part of the game and we will continue to push until the end.”