Sam Sunderland’s Crash Takes Him Out of The Dakar

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On Monday, Sam Sunderland was at the top of the leaderboard in the 2018 Dakar Rally, on his way to securing KTM’s 17th-straight Dakar Rally victory. By the next day however, Sunderland’s fortunes were much more different, with the treachery of the Dakar showing itself.

Taking a massive crash during on Tuesday, Sunderland’s Dakar Rally was over, thus ending his hopes for a back-to-back winning of the iconic off-road race.

The crash occurred during the timed “special” of Stage 4, with Sunderland’s KTM 450 Rally apparently crashing into a large hole. The crash was so severe, Sunderland worried that he had broken his back, with him unable to feel his legs after remounting and riding several more miles.

Thankfully, Sunderland has been cleared of any life-changing injuries, having suffered “only” two crushed discs in his spinal column.

The British rider’s disappointment was still palpable though, as he posted to social media:

Sunderland arguably won last year’s Dakar because of Toby Price’s leg injury, which catapulted Sunderland to the top of KTM’s internal leaderboard. Now with the 2017 Dakar Rally winner out of the contest, we wait and see who will fill his vacancy.

As of today’s writing, it is Yamaha’s Adrien Van Beveren, who leads Honda’s Kevin Benavides by one minute, and KTM’s Matthias Walkner by 1’14”.

With such a narrow gap in the standings however, the 2018 Dakar Rally is certainly still anyone’s race to win.

Overall Standings for the 2018 Dakar Rally – Stage 5:

Pos. Rider Nation Team Time
1 VAN BEVEREN Adrien FRA Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team 11:03’23
2 QUINTANILLA Pablo CHI Husqvarna Factory Rally Team +01’55
3 BENAVIDES Kevin ARG Monster Energy Honda Team +03’15
4 WALKNER Matthias AUT Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team +05’23
5 DE SOULTRAIT Xavier FRA Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team +07’34
6 PRICE Toby AUS Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team +10’14
7 CORNEJO José Ignacio CHI Monster Energy Honda Team +12’06
8 CAIMI Franco ARG Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team +12’48
9 FARRES Gerard SPA Himoinsa Team +13’05
10 MEO Antoine FRA Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team +13’47

Source: KTM

Jensen Beeler

Despite his best efforts, Jensen is called one of the most influential bloggers in the motorcycle industry, and sometimes consults for motorcycle companies, whether they've solicited his expertise or not.