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Sam Sunderland: The Legendary Enduro Rider

So what happened to Sam Sunderland? Is he still racing competitively? We hope to shine some light here.

Sam Sunderland is a legendary Dakar competitor who unfortunately crashed in the 2020 Dakar Rally, resulting in 5 broken vertebrae and a broken shoulder, coincidently, on Stage 5 of the Rally. He continues to recover while setting his sights on returning in 2021 to claim an overall win, especially as he won the Rally in 2017.

Read on as we share more details about one of the quickest rally raid riders who has come out of the UK.

Sam Sunderland Overview

Sam essentially grew up racing motocross much like most other Dakar competitors. He was seen as a weapon on a 2-stroke and soon enough began racing competitively with some winning titles to his name in his teenage years.

Soon enough, he had set his sights on ultra endurance motorcycle racing, namely rally raid. The toughest race in the world for motorcycles is the Dakar Rally, and in essence, Sam soon found his way there in 2012.

Previous to this he had win the UAE National Baja Championship in both 2010 and 2011. He actually resides now in Dubai having migrated from the United Kingdom earlier in the last decade.

His 2012 Dakar debut started out strong though unfortunately, he retried early in the 3rd stage due to electrical issues with his KTM 450 Rally. In 2013, he suffered injuries to both wrists while training for the event. Ouch!

In 2014 he was back in the Dakar and this time riding for Honda. He had some quick success with a win in the 2nd stage, though again in the 3rd stage, he had to drop out. This time it was engine failure…or was it jinxed? Fortunately, he left that all behind him as he won in 2017.

Sam became the winner of the Dakar Rally (motorcycle division) in 2017.

Oddly enough, he competed in 2018 and had won Stages 1 and 3, yet crashed in stage 4. In 2020, he crashed in Stage 5. There seems to be a pattern here.

Going Forward

We do look forward seeing Sam recover from his injuries. Not only has he had a tough time at Dakar, but he’s also crashed during training.

Yet there’s something to be said for a man who gets back up on his motorcycle and keeps going. While the world has become soft and hides behind their smart phones, here is someone willing to go well beyond the realms of what is possible.

KTM certainly made a good decision.

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