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Red Bull KTM Sponsored Cyril Despres Wins His 5th Dakar

Cyril Despres receives the winner’s trophy from the President of Chile.

Frenchman Cyril Despres, aboard his Red Bull KTM Factory Rally bike, took his second straight (and fifth overall) victory in the 2013 Dakar Rally, which wrapped up this weekend.The nearly 5,000 mile event travels through Peru and Argentina, before finishing in Chile.  This year was typically grueling, as reflected in this quote from the winner:

“I went for it, with all the surprises a Dakar can throw at you,” he said. “Little navigational mistakes, perhaps fewer than the others, taking care of my motorcycle and being in a good team. In the end, I’ve got a good reason to be very happy. The day when winning the Dakar becomes easy, it won’t be interesting any more. And this day is still far! It’s too long, it’s too tough, it’s too hot. It’s too cold. You’ve got to get up early in the morning. You’ve got to find your way out of the maze of dunes in Peru and Chile. You’ve got to tackle the stones and cactuses on the courses near Córdoba. It’s just too tricky for it to be easy to win. And it’s even better when you win a difficult race. I’m always focused on what I have to do. We’re up against a grueling element, the desert. Then there are the stones, the Andes… and we experience them. It’s as real as it gets.”

KTM took the first five places, as well as its twelfth consecutive overall win. On the podium with Despres was second place Ruben Faria and third place Chalaco Lopez.

Motorcycle legend Stephane Peterhansel took his fifth overall win in the car class, adding to the six wins he achieved as a motorcyclist at Dakar.

Unfortunately, the 2013 edition of the race again saw tragedy as motorcyclist Thomas Bourgin succumbed to injuries after colliding with a Chilean police car on his way to the start line for Stage 7.

For additional details and stories (they are endless), visit Red Bull’s excellent Dakar site. Red Bull has also put together a nice video summary of the race, which you can find here: Day by Day at the Dakar Rally – The final curtain


  1. OneWhoKnoas says:

    I think KTM had plenty of competition this year from Yamaha and Husqvarna, they triumphed because they had the more experienced team but the other bikes and riders were certainly in it.

    Also Honda only decided to return to Dakar with a full factory effort six months ago… by next year they’ll have things sorted and looking at their prior Dakar wins back in the v-twin days and their amazing 16 consecutive wins in the Baja 1000 I’m sure they’ll be a worthy challenger next year.

  2. Bob says:

    I have to wonder if Faria could have won this year if it were not for team orders and all the extra support Despres needed. Not to slag the guy. I have great admiration for this guy’s abilities in all the extreme enduro events he competes in. But this is a little too “tour de france” where only one guy on the team is “allowed” to win and everyone else is just his support crew.

    I think Caselli did an awesome job for a first timer. If it weren’t for the penalties, he could have placed a few spots higher. Even the seasoned vets have navigational errors, which he’ll learn from. I’d like to see him get another ride next year.

  3. Scotty says:

    KTM seem to be unshakeable in thier grip on this event, its been a while since anyone else has had a sniff of a win.

  4. Vrooom says:

    Have to wonder how much longer Despres can keep this up before switching to cars. Pretty hard to win the Dakar over a period of decades in any vehicle, never mind a bike.

  5. Ricardo says:

    It would be interestng to know how these super human drivers and riders do for physical training before this grueling event. I think it takes an athlete to endure the rally and a set of excellent skills to achieve these results.

    • Vrooom says:

      Watch “Race to Dakar”, not because you can learn anything from Charley Boorman about riding Dakar, but more from everyone around him.

  6. HotDog says:

    Balls much larger than their brains….!!!

  7. motowarrior says:

    It’s a shame that there isn’t more competition in the motorcycle class. BMW isn’t a factor, and none of the Japanese and other makes are ready to challenge KTM. It’s also a shame that the Paris-Dakar had to be move to South America because of the threats posed by the lunatics of the world.

  8. mickey says:

    Those guys are crazy……….