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KTM Triumphs in Dakar Rally

KTM teammates Sam Sunderland and Matthias Walkner celebrate after finishing the Dakar Rally.

Sam Sunderland became the first British rider to win the Dakar Rally last weekend by riding his Factory KTM 450 across the line 32 minutes ahead of teammate Matthias Walkner. Sunderland led the Rally through the final week and ultimately was able to cruise home for the win.

Sunderland was unable to finish the Rally in two previous attempts, including 2012 and 2014, and was overcome by emotion following his victory.

“When I crossed the line I felt all the emotion hit me.  The weight on my shoulders of the race over the past week, leading the rally has been really heavy.  It’s the first Dakar I’ve ever finished and to finish first is an incredible feeling. I’m really lost for words.”

KTM swept the podium by taking third overall, as well. For full details and results, visit the official Dakar Rally web site.

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  1. bipedal says:

    Congrats to KTM, well done. But the riders deserve the real, real credit for a job fantastically done. These guys are exceptional humans!

  2. Vrooom says:

    Nice job on the part of Mr. Sunderland, who is surely a tough SOB to finish that rally, never mind first. To be fair, KTM has probably taken 80% of the top 3 positions in the last 15 years, but that is an incredible accomplishment in itself. I wonder whether they could safely move back to Africa now?

  3. paul246 says:

    Congrats to Team KTM

  4. PatrickD says:

    What’s equally incredible is that they’re doing this with 450cc engines. If you look at the footage, they seem really fast.
    Which makes the Adventure Class trend for 1000cc-1200cc engines seem somewhat ridiculous. These Dakar Racers are large, tough & substantial motorcycles which need to be designed with longevity and maintenance in mind.

    • Mick says:

      Not really. They need to survive the race. The 450s allow a much lighter overall motorcycle and are probably tuned for 60ish horsepower. That kind of power makes decent speed and less weight makes it easier on everything, particularly in the sand. Fighting a heavy bike in the sand is taxing and picking it up after the inevitable crash is really taxing. The big bikes also have tire issue caused by their weight. All the bikes had to do was last long enough for the above photo to be taken. Those babies could turn to sand on the way to the truck. Pour the sand in one of those big Champagne bottles and call it a souvenir.

  5. Tom R says:

    These riders and teams are amazing on their 450s, but I wish this current version of the Dakar would bring back the large-displacement bikes as in the past. Watching liter-class machines/riders rip over African territory (when it WAS staged in Africa) was quite a spectacle.

    Why did they stop running them?

  6. dt 175 says:

    Peterhansel knocked a bike guy off and broke the dude’s leg! Speak to him of glory…

    • Jonny Blaze says:

      According to Mr Dakar, the bike was coming towards him from the opposite direction. Lots of navigation errors in that stage.

  7. blitz11 says:

    KTM “Triumphs” over Dakar? Cute.

  8. Kyle says:

    Great job KTM. Now lets see those street legal dual sports with long service intervals!

    • sbashir says:

      Service interval on my 2015 KTM 1190 Adventure R is 18,600 miles.

      • LordBeal says:

        Kyle said “dual sport” not “adventure.” I completely agree, the whole world is waiting for either a six speed DRZ (Suzuki, hey SUZUKI!! The number is SIX!!!) or a proper long lived 450 dual sport. Sbashir – your bike is awesome, it’s just waayy too big for the tight woods we have here in Western Washington.

  9. Ricardo says:

    These guys are amazing, it is one of the most dangerous races in the world, just to finish it is quite an accomplishment, but to win it is glory!

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