Shouting out our loudest praise possible to Dakar Rally winner Sam Sunderland…
The Dakar Rally — it’s a race like few others. For the first two weeks of January every year it consumes our hearts and minds as our screens are filled with images of the race.
We comment about how next year we’ll be on the start line giving it ago. But then we generally put it aside and leave it be for another 12 months.
However, for the minority that don’t, Dakar is life. Getting to the start line takes an incredible amount of dedication. Finishing it demands all the skill and will in the world your body, mind and soul has to offer.
And winning it? Well, that’s pretty much damn near immeasurable — that’s a level where you migrate from this world to status of living legend.
On Saturday morning, January 14, following a two-week journey of over 8,000 kilometres, Sam Sunderland became a certified motorcycling legend as he etched his name into the record books as the first British man to ever win the Dakar Rally.
It was the culmination of a journey that’s been a lifetime in the making for the now 27-year-old Dubai resident.
Since arriving on the world scene in 2011, Sunderland has consistently showed his speed was there. He claimed two stage wins against Marc Coma in Abu Dhabi back in his debut race.
Three years later he then became the first British rider since John Deacon to win a Dakar Rally stage.
But that immediate success brought with it a myriad of pain and torment. Broken bones prevented two Dakar starts and broken engines and a crash prevented finishes in the three he did start.
Picking himself up time and time again, 2017 was when it all finally came right, and in the biggest way possible. Not only finishing his first Dakar, he went and won the damn thing too.
Nothing shouts setting the world to rights quite like that. It’s an inspirational story and one I’m sure we could all learn a thing or two from.
Congratulations Sam, Dakar Rally winner 2017!
Photo: © Aurelien Vialatter/@World