AMA Supercross star Andrew Short went back to being a rookie when he took the start earlier this month in the toughest off-road race in the world, the Dakar Rally. The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna factory rider has adapted well to the new sport and his performance has been consistent. In stage 10 he attracted the attention of the bivouac by finishing sixth. With the finish looming, he lies 17th in the general classification. I spoke with Short at the bivouac in Belen after his best result in the Dakar.
How did the idea of racing Dakar come to you?
Once I started to follow Dakar, I went on the Sonora Rally in Mexico and was hooked. Dakar became my new goal. I feel blessed because usually you have one opportunity in racing but I’m having two, and Dakar is a second dream in my life. The transition from supercross to rally has been a cool discovery, and next year I want to come back and be more competitive. I want to give myself two shots.
How did you feel after finishing sixth in stage 10?
I thought I’d be more competitive sooner with rally but it has been really difficult. I underestimated the navigation, how specialized these riders are and the high level of the competition. I didn’t give as much respect as I should have; they are amazing athletes and the speed they are riding and reading the road book at the same time is extraordinary.
Can you give us an idea of the speed?
It’s fast! We did 170 km/h. Today I had a crash at a very high speed and I would never go that speed on an enduro bike. I didn’t check the speed but from the impact it was more like in roadracing.
What is special about rally raid?
I love this sport because it’s multi-dimensional. It’s not only about speed; you have to be clever to make strategies, make quick decisions, and stay in the moment. It’s real a challenge.
How is the atmosphere of the bivouac?
In a way, the bivouac is the same as every other paddock as there is a lot of passion and people are not here for the money. What is different about rally is that you race 14 days in a row. If you think about motocross or supercross, it’s like the length of a whole season.
How many hours per day do you sleep?
As a factory rider, I’m privileged and I sleep on average 4-5 hours per night. But the privateer and “malle moto” riders, who are competing solo without assistance, are the true adventurers. For them it’s more a challenge with themselves.
With 54 different nationalities, the Dakar is like the Olympic games of motorsport.
This is also the special thing about the bivouac: You have bikes, cars, and trucks all together and people from different countries and status.
What was the worst moment?
For me everything is new so I also need to understand where the limit is. Now I’m getting scared by the crashes. Motorsport is always dangerous, but here you need to pay more attention.
What do you think in the long liaisons?
I love these longs trips because it’s my first time and I have the chance to see different countries. The people are amazing, and I also like the teammates. I talk with different people before the start.
What will you bring back home?
For me it’s a dream come true. I’m not doing it for money, and I thank the Husqvarna Rockstar team for this opportunity.