Sam Hits Pay Dirt on Dakar
Bike UK|April 2017

Exclusive interview: Britain’s first ever Dakar winner on what it takes to win the hardest off-road race in the world…

FOR THE FIRST time since the Dakar Rally was originally run in 1978, the world’s hardest off road race has a British winner. KTM rider Sam Sunderland took the lead on day five and, despite huge pressure, physical punishment and challenging navigation, held it for eight days to the finish.

‘It’s pretty cool to get that monkey off my back to be honest,’ says Sam from his home in Dubai. ‘After so many ups and downs, crashes and broken bones, to finally get it done repays the confidence others have shown. All the sacrifices were worth it. It’s a very satisfying feeling.’

Since his first attempt in 2012, Sunderland has never finished the Dakar. In the years building up to 2017’s success, two broken wrists and a badly broken leg (which permanently left him with one leg shorter than the other), plus mechanical breakdowns when racing for Team HRC, tested the Dorset-born racer’s mettle.

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