43 years since it’s inception in 1979, the latest Dakar Rally taking place across Saudi Arabia, provided the usual mix of gruelling stages, stern endurance tests and the unique demands of top level rally raid competition.
Two wheels wise, overall bike honours went to England’s now twice Dakar Champion Sam Sunderland with Monster Energy Honda’s Pablo Quintanilla, KTM’s Matthias Walkner finalising the top three finishers.
The most recognisable competitor with a pure road racing background was Amaury Baratin.
A former TT and Macau Grand Prix exponent, Baratin racing the Horizon Moto 95 KTM, showed tenacious gritty race craft during the opening stages, holding 106th position in class by the end of stage four.
Unfortunately his Dakar challenge was to conclude in disappointing fashion, via an ankle injury sustained during an incident curtailing any chance of further endeavours.
I’d be remiss as well not to mention former Moto GP racer Danilo Petrucci, who’s fiercely determined efforts were rewarded with a stage win on the 6th January.
Overall 131 two wheel racers completed this year’s Dakar edition, congratulations to all of them on achieving this quite notable feat.
Words by Stevie Rial #dontletfearcontrolyou