The biggest news from the Dakar Rally today was former bike class winner Sam Sunderland’s painful fall, which has forced him out of the event with back and shoulder injuries. In our highlights video above, it shows many of Sunderland’s rivals stop to help before the medical helicopter arrives, which then airlifts him to hospital.
Factory KTM rider Sunderland won the Dakar in 2017, but crashed at the 187km point of Stage 5 in 2020, and required medical assistance for his multiple injuries.
“Sam is OK,” reported KTM team boss Jordi Viladoms. “He has an injury in his back. Some fractures, but small ones, with no compressions. So surgery is not necessary.
“He also has an injury in his shoulderblade, but nothing serious. We know it’s Dakar, this can happen, and now we need to keep pushing with the rest of our team.”
Sunderland had won Stage 4 yesterday, until he was handed a five-minute penalty by stewards for speeding in a neutral sector. That had dropped him to sixth position overall.