On Saturday 14th
January, 27 year old Sam Sunderland created history by becoming the first ever British rider to win the Dakar Rally. After 12 gruelling stages held across 13 days of riding the Dubai based Brit crossed the finish line to take victory and lead his Red Bull Factory KTM team to a 1-2-3 finish in the event.
More amazingly Sunderland’s victory also marked his first official finish in the event after suffering with bad luck and injuries in previous years. Sunderland, originally from Poole in Dorset took over the lead in the event on Stage five and built up a lead that saw him finish the rally over thirty minutes ahead of his nearest rival.
A former youth motocross rider, Sunderland has been working hard over the past five years to adapt to the challenges and skills required to compete at the top of the Rally racing sport.
After overcoming the disappointment of missing last year’s event due to a broken leg, Sunderland has worked as becoming less aggressive on the bike to ensure that he made the finish line and that he did in fine style with victory.
Sunderland wasn’t the only British rider to taste the joys of podium honours at this year’s event as Lyndon Poskitt from Lancashire crossed the finish line to claim an incredible second place finish in the self-supported Malle Moto class.
38 year old Poskitt took on the tough challenge of completing the Dakar solo, with just a small box of tools and a tent. The Malle Moto class also sees riders having to work on their own bikes at the end of each day instead of sleeping.
Poskitt’s Dakar started long before the opening day, as the race was just one part of his ‘Races to Places’ adventures which saw him ride from America to the start line and after complete the Dakar rally he is now heading further south to explore Patagonia.
Photo by ASO/A. Vialatte