Motorcycle racer becomes first Brit to win Dakar


Motorcycle racer Sam Sunderland has become the first Briton to claim the prestigious Dakar Rally trophy since the race's inception in 1979.

The 27-year-old KTM rider took victory with a 32-minute total lead against Austrian teammate Matthais Walkner after the final 40 mile competitive stage in Rio Cuarto, Argentina.

He then went on to ride 435 miles to the official finish line in Buenos Aires, where he took to the podium and hoisted the trophy skywards. This marked the 16th consecutive Dakar victory for the Red Bull KTM Factory Team.

"It's overwhelming," said Sunderland. "When I crossed the line, the emotion really took over.

Motorcycle racer becomes first Brit to win Dakar

Motorcycle racer becomes first Brit to win Dakar

Speaking to Motorcycle News, he added: "It wasn't until the last five kilometres that I even started to think that it might be possible. I've been trying to block it out, just trying to stay calm and not think about it. It isn't easy, because you're on the bike for fourteen hours a day every day, and thoughts start to creep in!

"It's the first Dakar I finished – and I won it! It seems crazy even to say that out loud, but I'm just really grateful now."

He added: "The last six days have been a big weight on my shoulders, but I feel incredible now. I owe a huge thank you to the team, though, because the bike has been fantastic for two weeks. And I'm really thankful to everyone who supports me – thank you, and we've finally managed to do it!"

KTM dominated the Dakar podium, with Walkner taking second place, and the team's Gerard Farrés in third, three minute and 40 seconds behind Walker.