Not even a broken wrist could stop Albury’s Andrew Houlihan from completing the most gruelling motorsport race in the world, the Dakar Rally.
- Albury man Andrew Houlihan completes the Dakar Rally to finish in 50th place
- The 51-year-old fractured his wrist only three days into the two-week endurance race
- High-profile Australian rider Toby Price crashed out of the same race
The 51-year-old suffered a fractured scaphoid in his right wrist during a fall on day three of the two week-long event.
“It became a mental and physical challenge every single day,” Houlihan said.
This year, 101 competitors navigated their way from a set of cryptic instructions through almost 8,000 kilometres of demanding terrain during the 12-stage event in Saudi Arabia.
Only 40 per cent of the entrants made it to the finish line.
Houlihan was one of just four Australians to take part in this year’s event.
High-profile Australian and two-time winner Toby Price crashed out of the event during stage nine with a broken collarbone.
Houlihan admitted there were times when he did not think he would be able to physically complete the race.
“One more day, just one waypoint, one day at a time,” he said he would tell himself.
“I wanted something difficult and Dakar delivered,” he said.
Houlihan’s media manager Steve McDowall said competing in the race had been the team’s dream for more than two years.
“This was his big dream, to get to Dakar and to complete it,” Mr McDowall said.
“Because simply completing it is a mission and an accomplishment in itself.”
Mr McDowall said Houlihan is recovering in Saudi Arabia and is unsure when he will be able to return to Australia due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“He said to me the adrenalin [has] dropped, the pain is very clear now,” he said.
“He is certainly feeling that he is physically exhausted.”
Mr McDowall said despite Houlihan indicating in the final days of the rally it would be his final race there might have been a change of heart.
“He told me on Saturday morning he sat down with Pablo [Guillen], his teammate, and the rest of the team and said ‘righto boys what is next’,” he said.
“So, we don’t think this is over yet.”