The twelfth and final stage of the 2022 Dakar Rally Bike category was one of the most exciting parts of the grueling race. The top 3 riders — Honda’s Pablo Quintanilla, KTM’s Toby Price, and Honda’s Nacho Cornejo — were separated by just 29 seconds as they crossed the finish line. However, GASGAS Racing’s Sam Sunderland took home the overall win in the motorcycle category.
Now a two-time Dakar Rally winner, the Brit finished 8th in the last stage, 03m25s behind Pablo Quintanilla. However, this was enough to clear him by almost four minutes in the overall time from Quintanilla, who took home silver. This was also GasGas’ first Dakar Rally victory. The motorcycle Sunderland was racing is essentially a rebadged KTM 450 Rally, a bike he’s pretty familiar with and the one he won the 2017 Dakar Rally on.
Here’s what Sunderland had to say following his victory “Wow. What a feeling! That 10-minute period waiting at the end of the final stage to see if I’d won felt like a lifetime,”
“But this feeling, knowing I’ve won a second Dakar, will stay in my memory forever. This win feels better than the first as this victory was anything but easy. The times were so close this year and there was no time to let off the gas, it was a really close race, right to the end.”
“All of the hard work, the sacrifices, and everything that the GASGAS team has done for me makes it all worthwhile. It’s been five years since my first Dakar win, and it’s been a long time to wait!”
“I’m super happy to get another win and claim the first one for GASGAS. Everyone on the team has worked so hard to achieve this and it’s a true team effort – together we got the job done. Amazing.”
The Dakar is a highly challenging race and arguably the hardest one. Huge congratulations are in order for everyone who participated and completed it, as well as the organizers.