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Digital Subscriptions > Fast Bikes > Issue 324 March 2017 > Pit Pass

Pit Pass



It’s true that we of FB are not generally of an off-road persuasion, especially when it comes to the sports side of motorcycling. Oh, we love it just fine, but in the grand scheme of things it’s not really our bag, you know? When it’s properly hardcore though, such as the Dakar Rally, we’re all in!

And this year especially is a good one for us, as Sam Sunderland astride his mighty KTM, a lad from these very shores, became the first British competitor to win the event. Go on, Sam!

This edition of the rally, the 38th, kicked off at Asuncion in Paraguay and blazed its way through Bolivia and Argentina. Incredibly, this is the 16th time in a row that KTM have won the Rally, a near unbelievable dominance. It was Sam’s first victory though, after having tried to win on prior occasions. On both other attempts he had to pull out through mechanical woes, but this time around he took the lead of the race at stage-five (of twelve) and won by a time of nearly 33 minutes. That may sound like a large gap, but when you factor in the sheer number of miles pounded over the course of the event, it isn’t as big as you’d think. Sam was followed home by team-mate Matthias Walkner making it a KTM 1-2. “When I crossed the line my emotions really took over”, said Sam, “ I’ve had a lot of weight on my shoulders for the last six days. Now it feels incredible. I have to say thanks to my team, the bike has been great from start to finish.

When Toby (Price) went out of the race it was a blow to the team, as he’s a good friend. Because of the strong bonds we have in our team it helped us to pull together and strive to do something special. There’s a lot of fast guys that have the potential to win this race, I think cutting out the mistakes was the key to this win.”

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Fast Bikes is home to the best sportsbike tests on the planet and is packed with new bike launches, technical insight, hardcore action, masterclasses, racing, reviews and loads more.