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ADV NewsMatthias Walkner Wins 2021 Silk Way Rally, Skyler Howes Runner-Up

Matthias Walkner Wins 2021 Silk Way Rally, Skyler Howes Runner-Up

Round two of the 2021 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship ends.

Published on 07.06.2021

The 2021 Silk Way Rally came to a close today with KTM factory rider, Matthias Walkner, snatching first place in the motorcycle category. The winner of the 2018 Dakar, adds another major event to his tally of achievements and takes the lead in the provisional FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship standings.

Originally planned to run from Russia to Mongolia, this year’s race was unfortunately cut short midway through the event due to the pandemic situation. COVID outbreaks across several provinces in Mongolia prompted officials to remove the country from the route and keep the race entirely in Russia. Reduced to five stages and 3,108 km, with riders repeating previously contested specials on the final two days, the race still delivered a sizable challenge with mixed terrain that included sand, mud, dirt roads and forest tracks.

2021 Silk Way Rally Route

Today’s stage five was a re-run of the second day of the event. With the timed special being a repeat of day two, and navigation therefore being less of a challenge, times across the leading riders were extremely close with the top five split by less than three minutes. Although the special totaled 132km, times were taken from the 110km mark, presenting riders with an effective sprint finish to the event. After the dust settled, it was Daniel Sanders (GasGas) who won the stage — his third of the rally — though this remarkable achievement wasn’t enough to grant him a place on the podium. Franco Caimi (Hero) was also out of luck, missing out on second place by just 6 seconds. 


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In the end it was experience that paid off, with ex-Dakar winner Walkner taking the overall +6:20 ahead of another impressive rally raid rider Skyler Howes. After recently earning a spot with the Husqvarna factory team, Skyler’s second-place result from the Silk Way Rally elevates him to second overall in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship. With the team contesting two more races in the series – Morocco and Abu Dhabi – the American star is still very much in the running for the championship title.

Skyler Howes takes second place at 2021 Silk Way Rally

“To get second place and my first podium at a world championship round is amazing. I was hoping for a slightly longer race, and maybe another step higher on the podium, but I can’t tell you how stoked I am to finish as runner-up,” said Skyler.

Unfortunately for Yamaha, breakdowns continue to be on the menu, resulting in Ross Branch being forced out of the race in Stage 3 due to technical issues. In the end, the brand’s highest ranked rider was Adrien Van Beveren who finished seventh overall.

Notably missing from the race was Honda along with some other top names like Toby Price. Sam Sunderland could not attend due to having broken his pelvis at Rally Kazakhstan.

2021 Silk Way Rally Stage 5 Results

  1. Daniel Sanders (AUS), GASGAS, 1:04:05
  2. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 1:05:21
  3. Franco Caimi (ARG), Hero, 1:06:11
  4. Skyler Howes (USA), Husqvarna, 1:06:54
  5. Sebastian Buhler (GER), Hero, 1:06:54

2021 Silk Way Rally Overall Results

  1. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 6:19:18
  2. Skyler Howes (USA), Husqvarna, 6:25:38 +6:20
  3. Franco Caimi (ARG), Hero, 6:25:44 +6:26
  4. Daniel Sanders (AUS), GASGAS, 6:26:37 +7:19
  5. Sebastian Buhler (GER), Hero, 6:29:36 +10:18

2021 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship – (after round two)

  1. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 57.5 points
  2. Skyler Howes (USA), Husqvarna, 36 pts
  3. Daniel Sanders (AUS), GASGAS, 32.5 pts
  4. Franco Caimi (ARG), Hero, 32 pts
  5. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 31 pts

Photos: Rally Zone

Author: ADV Pulse Staff
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