Riley’s Dream: A Holden Ute at Dakar

The Holden Ute of Steve Riley and Trev Hanks are currently living their dream of racing at Dakar in their Aussie built Holden Ute.

Steve Riley a former off road motorcycle racer and three times auto winner of the Australian safari rally along with co/driver and friend Trev Hanks are competing in 2019 Dakar Rally. The Dakar Rally will take place in only one country Peru for the first time in its history with Peru the sole host nation for the 2019 event. The route for the 41st edition of the South American event was revealed by rally organiser ASO following the news that Chile aand Argentina had dropped out of a potential return to hosting the event last minute. The Dakar rally will comprise of 10 stages and a rest day, all within Peru, starting and ending in the capital city Lima. It will begin on January 6 and finish on January 17.

The Peruvian desert sand and dunes will play a decisive role in the quest for top honours. This years rally will tranverse Peru and cover some 5000km of the toughest and remote country possible with over 70% of the rally being dunes and sand, as well as extreme altitude. Before loading the Holden Ute on the boat to Peru, extensive final testing was conducted south of Perth, on the Great Australian Bight in dune fields, similar to what is expected in Peru. “It was rough and tough testing, but essential to familiarise and hone in driving skills for the required sand dunes, also learning to read the sand and the dunes in the Peru deserts is paramount.” said Trev Hanks from the team workshop in Leongatha, South Gippsland, Victoria.

Steve Riley is no stranger to long distance extreme cross country rally’s having competed in many national and international rally’s both on motorcycles in the late 80’s up to 2000 with Honda Australia then a successful transition to cross country car racing with a Mitsubishi Pajero. Steve has twice competed at Dakar as co/driver in 2011 Cairns Coconut Race Team and again 2013 Izuzu motorsports where he finished both times. He is keen to compete in Dakar 2019 with his own team and own car.


Steve has built the Holden ute of his own design in his farm workshop on his dairy farm in Gippsland,Victoria with some help of some very skilled friends and some great Aussie parts and design. He hopes that they can finish the Dakar which is there ultimate goal. The Dakar rally is tough and it will be up to Steve and Trev to keep the car going during the day and hopefully get to the overnight stops where the mechanical support of Ian Wilson, Milton Hill , Troy McAinch, team manager Paul Borg and a service truck will carry out servicing and repairs as required.

Years ago when Steve and Peter Brock were competing in the Australian Safari, they dreamed about running a Holden Ute in the Dakar and we are now close to seeing that dream being realised.


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