Sam Sunderland wins the 2022 Dakar Rally

Sam Sunderland is the 2022 Dakar Rally winner
Sam Sunderland is the 2022 Dakar Rally winner

Sam Sunderland is the 2022 Dakar champion after wrapping up victory of the arduous race during the final 164km Special Stage in Saudi Arabia this morning.

Sunderland was already the first and only British rider to win Dakar when he took his maiden victory in 2017, with his 2022 success meaning he has won the event twice in five years.

The 32-year-old Brit who moved from the KTM factory team to the all-new GasGas outfit overcame a heavy crash on day four. But despite the setback showed a near perfect combination of speed, navigation skills and consistency and was at the top of the standings for seven of the 12 stages.

He also proved to be a master tactician by controlling the race, despite only actually winning one stage.

Speaking at the finish, Sunderland said: “I honestly couldn’t be happier and I’m so grateful to all the team and the work they put in. The last stage was so difficult with really hard navigation and some tricky notes (on the Road Book) and there were times I did not know if I was going the right way and I thought my head was going to explode.

“But hey what a feeling, all the hard times you have along the way make this feeling even greater. When I arrived at the finish I didn’t know if I had won or not so when they told me it was a dream come true. And to do it in two colours too (KTM and GasGas) is amazing.”

Sunderland has now started nine Dakar’s in his career, during which time he’s suffered five DNF’s but in each of the four Dakar’s he’s finished he’s been on the podium with two wins and two thirds.


Michael Guy

By Michael Guy

Sports Editor, former 250-racer and adventure rider