BENDIGO motorcyclist Michael Burgess has ended his exhilarating first-ever Dakar Rally in 27th position.
Burgess finished last Friday's 12th and final stage in 30th position, helping him to a finish inside the top 30.
It was a dream come true for the 40-year-old, who contested the motorcycle class with Swiss-based team Nomad Racing.
The final stage from AIUla to Yanbu was marred by heavy rain, resulting in the event being reduced by 20 kilometres.
Burgess for one was glad to see the rain fall.
"The dunes were cool .... thank God it rained, I reckon I might have struggled if it hadn't," he said.
"It was soft sand. As like everybody, I rode past weigh-point 14, but because I had missed one the day before that I thought I got, I was a bit annoyed about that.
"I actually found it really quickly. Everyone had gone back down into the dune and back into the valley, I just rode along the top of it so I didn;'t have to go back down and I grabbed it on the top.
"I might have only missed a minute or two.
"I just rode very sensibly (on Friday), I watched the blokes in front of me from a distance and didn't do anything silly. There was nothing crazy going on.
"There were some really gnarly dunes at the end, so it would've been so hard if it was dry, with cats-eyes everywhere.
"But I really enjoyed (Friday's) stage, which was great, as I really struggled the day before. Nothing was working for me.
"Day eleven was probably the most emotional for me, nothing was working for me. My brain was fried and I was feeling the pressure."
The final stage was won by American Ricky Brabec in a time of 02H 17' 02'', ahead of Argentinian Kevin Benavides (02H 19' 19'').
But the stage win was not enough for Brabec to overhaul Benavides in the overall rankings, with the Aregentinian making Dakar history by becoming the first South American to win the event on two wheels.
Burgess finished as the second best Australian rider behind only Daniel Sanders, who was fourth overall, just 38 minutes behind the winner.
Sanders, multi time domestic and world enduro champion, was also contesting his first Dakar Rally.
Attention for Burgess has now turned to getting out of Saudi Arabia and back home.
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