Sunday 28 November at 11 am (Paris time) - Presentation of the 2022 Dakar
N°101 Bike HT RALLY RAID HUSQVARNA RACING
driver
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DAVID KNIGHT

(gbr) 1.93m / 98kg

Hobbies

Riding bikes! Any motorsport really…

Sponsors

TBA

First participation

2020: Andalucia Rally (1st, Rally 2 class)
2019: FIM Enduro Open Cup (1st, Senior class)
2014: FIM Superenduro World Championship (2nd)
2013: FIM Superenduro World Championship (2nd)
2010: World Enduro Championship (1st, E3 class)
2008: FIM Superenduro World Championship (1st), GNCC Series (1st)
2007: GNCC Series (1st), AMA Endurocross Series (1st), FIM Indoor Enduro World Cup (1st), Aussie Four Day (1st)
2006: World Enduro Championship (1st, E3 class)
2005: World Enduro Championship (1st, E3 class), ISDE (1st overall)
5 x Enduro World Champion
4 x AMA Champion
24 x British Champion

Interview

“You just want to go and use your head a little bit”

David Knight is one of the best bikers the United Kingdom has ever produced, and he will finally be making his long-awaited Dakar debut in 2021. The five-time enduro world champion will definitely be a man to watch in Saudi Arabia, although he insists he won't be going into the unfamiliar world of rally raid all guns blazing. Instead, 'Knighter' is determined to learn as much as he can. David's father was a keen biker who competed in trials events, so the 42-year-old has been riding practically since he could walk; he fondly remembers ripping around on a Yamaha PW50 and TY80 as a boy. Having followed in the footsteps of his dad and older brother Juan, he honed his skills on the rolling terrain of the biker's paradise that is the Isle of Man. And once he started competing in enduro, there was no stopping him. After winning multiple British titles, he was crowned world enduro champion for the first time in 2005. It was a bittersweet year for David; he also claimed one of the biggest victories of his career with a gold medal at the International Six Days Enduro (ISDE), but sadly lost his father to cancer. As a KTM factory rider he continued to go from strength to strength, adding further world enduro titles in 2006 and 2010, and the world superenduro championship in 2008. He also conquered America, with multiple wins at the Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) series and the AMA endurocross championship. Even since stepping away from the main world championship events to focus on his family life, David has continued to add to his glittering CV, winning the inaugural FIM Enduro Open Cup for seniors in 2019. He has been busy working on Dakar sponsorship in recent months, although he still found time to claim victory in the Rally 2 class at the main warm-up event in Andalucia, ahead of fellow highly rated debutants Tosha Schareina and Libor Podmol. David will be riding for the HT Rally Raid Husqvarna racing team, meaning he'll be able to seek advice from talented teammates including Xavier de Soultrait, Adam Tomiczek and Paul Spierings. The enduro legend will no doubt have a few tales of his own to share around the bivouac campfire as well, and not just from his racing days; Queen Elizabeth II awarded him an MBE for services to sport in 2011, and he carried the Olympic torch during the Isle of Man leg of its relay before London 2012.

"I have could done the Dakar in 2009 or 2010 with KTM, but I was committed to other stuff, and it was always last minute. It's not the easiest thing to prepare for -especially on the Isle of Man!- and that's what put me off. I trained a little bit with [Cyril] Despres and [Marc] Coma back in the day, and I was miles faster than they were, but I didn't know the roadbook. If I'd done it back then, I'm pretty certain I could have won it by now. But this year I just want to enjoy it and not get carried away. The mental attitude has to be 'hang on a minute, I'm going to back off a bit here'. I'd like to get a decent result in two or three years, maybe. I think the first year, it's like the Isle of Man TT, you need to get as much information and mileage as you can. Not go out there thinking, 'I'm going to win this!' and crash out, and that's game over. Plenty of riders have done that in the past. If you're smart you can be 30th in the first week, then in the second week you can push a little more and move up the standings.
I just need to go and ride it, see if I enjoy it. I can't wait. I've never stopped racing. They created a senior class at the world championships, for riders over 37, and I won all the rounds of that and the championship title. I'd been doing the worlds for 15-16 years, and I wanted to do some other races. My two eldest are seven and six now so it's a bit easier to find the time. I want to crack on a bit and do some big races, but it's tough getting sponsors. What we've done to get to Dakar is unreal. People have come on board where they can, and we've raised a hell of a lot of money with GoFundMe. What's really surprised me is the people from the Isle of Man who have chipped in, because money's a bit scarce here. It's mint when you've got people like that around you."

Vehicle

HT RALLY RAID HUSQVARNA RACING

  • Mark : HUSQVARNA
  • Model : FR 450 RALLY
  • Performance tuner : HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing
  • Assistance : HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing
  • Class : G2.1 Super production

Ranking 2021

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