FIM motorcycle and quad riders


2021 Rally Kazakhstan

For immediate release

Saturday, June 5th, 2021

FIM motorcycle and quad riders

head to Rally Kazakhstan for the first time

AKTAU CITY (KAZAKHSTAN): Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, Hero Motorsports Team Rally, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing and the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team will field their star riders when the FIM Cross-Country Rally World Cup starts and takes centre stage at Rally Kazakhstan next week (June 9th-13th).

There have been numerous rider changes amongst the leading teams since Kevin Benavides headed Ricky Brabec and a Monster Energy Honda Team 1-2 at the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia in January.

Benavides has moved on to join Sam Sunderland and Matthias Walkner at KTM, Australian Toby Price has recently announced a cross-country project on four-wheels, while Skyler Howes was fifth at the Dakar with a KTM and joined Luciano Benavides at Husqvarna in April.

The latter has now recovered from a shoulder injury sustained at the Dakar and undergone extensive training in Spain. Howes, meanwhile, finished as runner-up for his new team at both the Silver State 330 desert race and the Sonoro Rally and has also been testing in Spain.

Benavides said: “Thankfully I’m feeling really good right now. It’s been three months since I had surgery on my shoulder after Dakar. A lot of the time since then I have been training hard to get back to 100%. For me, when I have a crash or injury, it often motivates me to come back stronger and that is what I have been working on.”

Australian Daniel Sanders guided his KTM to a fine fourth place at the Dakar and the rookie now fronts the GasGas Factory Racing team for the first time in Kazakhstan after signing for the team in the last couple of weeks. Meanwhile, Franco Caimi has joined Joaquim Rodriguez and Sebastien Bühler in the Hero team – the latter duo fresh from finishing 11th and 14th at the Dakar.

Yamaha suffered a cruel Dakar, after Adrien van Beveren had shown so much promise at the Hail Bajas in Saudi Arabia last December. The Frenchman and team-mates, Ross Branch and Andrew Short, will be hoping for better fortune in Kazakhstan. Short tackled the Sonora Rally recently but both Branch and Van Beveren are out of recent match practice.

However, van Beveren has been carrying out fitness training this week in the mountains around Andorra and switched to four-wheels last week to tackle the Touquet Rally in France with navigator Xavier Panseri in a PH Sport Citroën C3 R5.

The deserts of western Kazakhstan will be new to all the riders, as the FIM Cross-Country Rally World Cup starts in Central Asia for the first time before heading to the Silk Way Rally in Russia and Mongolia in July, Brazil and Portugal in August and September and Morocco and Abu Dhabi in October and November.

In addition to the leading factory teams, Qatar’s Sheikh Mohamed Al-Thani has entered the event on an HT Rally Raid Husqvarna FR 450 Rally and the Honda brand is represented by the privateer Italian Augusto Carlo Cabini at the helm of a Honda RS Moto Team CRF 450 Rally RS.

Four quad riders will battle it out for supremacy on the entry list announced recently by the Automotorsport Federation of the Republic of Kazakhstan (AMFK). Rafal Sonik is a veteran of numerous FIM World Cup and Dakar forays and the Pole has opted to ride a Yamaha Raptor 700 across the remote Kazakh plains and grasslands where wild horses roam amongst the camels on the vast steppes.

Sonik faces competition in the category from Russia’s Alexsandr Maxsimov and the South American duo of Guatamala’s Rodolfo Guillioli and Argentina’s Manuel Andujar.

Initial administration and FIM technical checks will be held next Tuesday (June 8th) before the ceremonial start takes centre stage in Aktau City the same evening.


For further media information: Neil Perkins, international media relations, 2021 Rally Kazakhstan, Tel: +44 7831 123153, E-mail:

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