Its all over for the Dakar defending champion, Sam Sunderland
He went crashing into a large hole during the timed “special” of Stage 4by Sagar, on
The 40th edition of the most grueling race in the world is underway in its 5th stage as we speak, and the leaderboards are having a field day with a lot of names jump around as expected. One name stuck off the charts is Sam Sunderland, the British Dakar defending champion in the Motorcycle segment.
The Dakar frontrunner is out of 2018 season after he landed hard on the surface after a small jump over a ditch, resulting in the KTM 450 Rally hitting his back pretty hard. There wasn’t any feeling down his legs and felt numb in his lower back, ending his hopes for a back-to-back winning of the legendary desert event.
Out of a total 146 motorcycles that started stage 1 last year, only 97 of them crossed the chequered flag at the end of stage 12 with Sam Sunderland on a KTM becoming the first British to win the Dakar Rally in the Motorcycle segment. With this victory, KTM extended its winning streak to 16 and were in all form to make that 17 in 2018.
Unfortunately, Sam, who had taken the lead at the end of Stage 3 the previous day, had to retire after riding approximately 140 miles of Stage 4. A crash during the timed “special” yesterday, resulted in a compression on his back.
Still, Sam managed to pick himself up and ride for another 3-4 miles before his body gave up on him. The pain in his back forced him to stop and he pressed the emergency button to summon medical assistance.
He was then flown to Clinica Anglo Americana hospital in Lima where he had his first examination. Luckily, there aren’t any life-threatening injuries and he has been cleared with “only” two crushed discs in his spinal column.
A hard blow to the Red Bull KTM Factory Team rooting for their 17th Dakar win and a damn good opportunity for the Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team and Monster Energy Honda Team to pounce on this to take on the leaderboards. Adrian van Beveren of France (Yamaha) won the Stage 4 and is currently on the top.
The Dakar Rally (or simply "The Dakar"; formerly known as the "Paris–Dakar Rally") is the world’s most challenging cross-country rally event that judges the physical and mental aptitudes of the rider and the machine since its inception in 1978.
For the 40th edition of this grueling race, the world’s top off-roaders are revisiting the Pacific Ocean and the dunes of Peru on the, to travel on a gruesome track through Bolivia and finally culminating in Argentina on the 20th this month.