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Sam Sunderland: “Anyone who says they are not scared at the Dakar is either stupid or lying”

Sam Sunderland in action en route to winning the 2017 Dakar rally - the first time he'd managed to finish the gruelling off-road event in six attempts

On January 6 the 40th edition of the world’s toughest race gets underway in Peru with Sam Sunderland, the first-ever British winner of the Dakar rally, defending his title against more than 160 competitors.

As a motorcycle racing feat and spectacle the Dakar rally hovers in the same sphere of thrill, danger and questionable sanity as the Isle of Man TT.

For the forthcoming edition that cuts across three countries, traversing desert dunes, mountain ranges and near desolate landscapes through Peru, Bolivia and Argentina, almost 200 steel-nerved riders will cover nearly 5,500 miles in less than two weeks.

And all with throttles pinned from dawn to dusk, not knowing what the trail has in store.

“To be honest it’s scary,” says Sam Sunderland, Britain’s first ever winner last January for what was his sixth attempt at the race and the first he’d actually finished.

Sunderland celebrates with his team a year ago

“Before each stage I’m afraid. Everyone...

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