Sam Sunderland has crashed out of the 2023 Dakar Rally – the defending champion was airlifted to hospital for examination and was forced to retire but is said to be conscious and fully mobile.

Dramatic news breaking this morning on stage one of the 2023 Dakar Rally as the defending champion, GASGAS Factory Racing’s Sam Sunderland has crashed out at kilometre 52 of the first special test of the race.

Matthias Walkner was the fellow rider who stopped at the scene to help and waited until medical staff attended (Walkner will get his time back for this).

The organisers quickly reported Sunderland was conscious and fully mobile but had suffered back pain in the crash and was cared for by the medical team quickly at the scene before being taken to hospital in the air ambulance.

UPDATE: Enduro21 just got an update from the team here in the paddock and their news is Sam is "ok" but has an injury to his shoulder. His bike was a little bent also but they were able to ride it back to the bivouac.



It's a tough blow for Sunderland on the back of the stellar 2022 where he won both the Dakar and World Rally-Raid Championship. This day one retirement unfortunately follows the same pattern set when Sam took his first Dakar title and subsequently retired on stage four the following year.

The curse of the number one plate strikes again. Get well soon Sam.

Looking for stage 1 results?: 2023 Dakar Rally: Stage 1 results – Ricky Brabec wins dramatic opening day


Photo Credit: Rally Zone