“I'm old but still in good shape”
Does Yoshimasa Sugawara still need an introduction? A living legend in the Caravan, the Japanese competitor first read about the Dakar in the 1980s in a motorcycle magazine. While his first participation in the motorcycle category in 1983 finished prematurely, he has more than made up for that since, with only three retirements in 30 Dakar rallies in the bike, auto and truck divisions! Sugarawa is the record holder in terms of Dakar finishes with 20 consecutive rallies completed between 1989 and 2009. Last year, the native of Hokkaido took on and the Dakar for the 32nd time and that too is a record. At 72 years of age, he still has the energy and ambition of a newcomer. He indeed carries on competing in local rallies on his KTM bike. For this new edition, his 33rd, master Yoshimasa will again have at his side, navigator Katsumi Hamura. In his Hino 500 GT with a more powerful engine, he hopes to win his class (under 10 000cc class) and why not beat his son Teruhito.
Y.S.: “I started competing in a truck back in 1992. For me the truck class is the most interesting due to all the modifications that have occurred and because the driving is more interesting. I had considered stopping the Dakar last year, but I still have things to learn. I'm a bad student of the Dakar school. One of my best memories was witnessing the crowds in the streets during the first stage in Argentina. To prepare for the Dakar, I compete in several rallies during the year on my KTM bike. I'm old but still in good shape. For this edition I'll have a new engine that is more powerful. I think I can even beat my son, Teruhito. The goal is to win my class. I am the record holder in terms of appearances and Dakar rallies finished. I have to carry on another twenty years to reach number 50.”