A fuel pump failure and serious hand cramps didn't stop Albury off-road motorcycle rider Andrew Houlihan from completing one of the world's toughest rallies.
Houlihan placed 21st overall in the Africa Eco Race, which comprised 6500 kilometres over 12 days of racing through Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania and Senegal.
The stages ranged from 300km to 750km, with the Border competitor, one of three Australians in the race, managing to complete each section.
"I had a couple of bad days and a few really good days," Houlihan said.
"Very little sleep for 12 days and just enough food to keep going each day."
Seventy-four motorbikes started the rally, but mechanical failures, crashes and injuries meant only 61 attempted the final stage.
"We saw the best and the worst of northern Africa and it was an emotional and physical roller coaster," Houlihan said.
"Every day at some stage I would ask myself, 'Why am I doing this?'.
"There were some serious accidents, riders stuck in the dunes for 24 hours, bikes and cars breaking down, crazy African desert dwellers to contend with and many new friendships made."
Stage eight proved particularly hard on riders with many bikes still stranded in the Mauritanian sand dunes overnight.
The event's 10th stage had to be cut short after multiple serious crashes required evacuations by helicopter.
Houlihan had his own challenges as a fuel pump failure in stage two cost him more than an hour and a half while he siphoned fuel from one fuel tank to the operational one.
For the last three days of the race his right hand cramped badly and he could hardly hang on to the bike.
But with his main goal being to finish safely, Houlihan said he was happy with his final placing.
"It's time to get home to (wife) Katie and the kids, add some more titanium pins and screws to my body, recover and get ready for the next race," he said.
The 2020 Africa Eco Race represented the next step towards Houlihan competing in the 2021 Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia.
He had won motocross titles in Australia, but made his international debut in 2018 when aged nearly 50 at the Hellas Rally in Greece.
A crash there seriously injured him, but the rider came back last year to compete in four international event including the Hispania Rally in Spain (sixth in class) and the Rally du Maroc where he came eighth in the Enduro Cup category.