The Dakar Rally takes riders over more than 8000 kilometres, across some of the most barren and roughest terrain anywhere in the world, and most of the time they have very little sleep between stages. Temperatures are extreme on every scale, and you have to be fitter than a triathlete to finish. It’s hard enough just to finish, let alone win, so imagine what it takes to win five times!
Well that’s what KTM’s Red Bull factory rider Cyril Despres from France did on Saturday, in turn handing KTM their twelfth consecutive title, and also handing the Austrian firm the top five places!
On taking his emotional fifth Dakar win Despres offered up some insight on what it takes to win, he said:“I went for it, with all the surprises a Dakar can throw at you. 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 Cordoba. 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.”
That'll do it then. One tough guy, one tough bike, one incredible race. Respect.
Pictures courtesy of KTM Racing Images