Sam Sunderland is making another bid for his second Dakar Rally title in Saudi Arabia with the Brit preparing for his quest by returning to his Dubai training grounds to race through iconic landmarks and stand on top of the highest building in the world.
Here is all you need to know:
– Sunderland won his first Dakar Rally title in South America at the 2017 edition and, after finishing third last year, he has enjoyed a strong start to the 2022 edition as it returns to the challenging Saudi desert.
– One of the main reasons that the Briton has risen to the top of the motorbike world during the past decade is his decision to adopt Dubai as his training destination so he can navigate sand dunes with ease.
– Sunderland, who also won the prestigious 2019 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, revealed: “I lived in Dubai for just over 10 years and it’s a place that enabled me to realise my dream of becoming a Dakar competitor. Without this, it’s hard to say whether I would have ever become world champion.”
– Ahead of the latest Dakar Rally, the Gas Gas Factory Racing rider returned to race past a litany of iconic landmarks to the top of the world’s tallest building – Burj Khalifa – on his motorbike.
– The 32-year-old racer joins an exclusive and illustrious list of people – which includes movie stars Tom Cruise and Will Smith – to reach the dizzying heights of the 828m tall skyscraper.
– The Portsmouth-born Dakar rider encounters multiple terrains and scenarios synonymous with the fabric of Dubai culture on his way there, to ride in areas where a motorbike had never been ridden before.
– Crossing between new and old Dubai, Sunderland’s scenic journey included navigating the mountain bike trails of Hatta, sailing over the iconic Al Faqa desert dunes and hitting jumps over golf course fairways.
– With the new Dakar winner crowned on January 14, he added: “It means a lot to be able to come back here and be given the opportunity to ride in places no one else has, and to be able to say that I’ve stood right at the top of the tallest building in the world is all a bit surreal.”