Jamie McCanney: Manxman takes 15th in debut Dakar Rally

Jamie McCanney (right)
Jamie McCanney (right) completed his debut Dakar Rally

Manx motorcyclist Jamie McCanney completed his debut Dakar Rally, finishing 15th overall and the best placed British rider.

McCanney finished the race across the Saudi Arabian desert in 43 hours 45 minutes, just under four hours behind the winner, Ricky Brabec of the USA.

The 25-year-old said he was "over the moon" but was "kicking myself" after falling shy of the top rookie spot.

McCanney finished just over 11 minutes behind Spanish debutant Jaume Betriu.

"It's been the longest, hardest 12 days of my life but an amazing experience. It's all been a little surreal with so much to take in," said McCanney.

After establishing himself in enduro racing, winning world and British junior titles, McCanney decided to switch to rally raid for 2019.

McCanney, racing for Yamaha Rally, described himself as being among the "hobby riders" as he made a solid, but tentative, start to the Dakar with 35th place on the opening stage.

As each day passed, McCanney chipped away at the overall standings and was 22nd overall by the first rest day.

The riders returned to the dunes on stage seven but the race was brought to a halt following the news that Portuguese rider Paolo Goncalves died following a crash during the stage.

McCanney claimed a brace of top 10 finishes in the event's marathon stages, 10 and 11, moving him up to 15th overall.

His Yamaha teammate Franco Caimi ended the race in eighth position, while Brabec became the first American to win the motorbike title.