(gbr) 1.79m / 70kg


Cycling, free diving


KTM, Red Bull, Airoh helmets, Oakley, USWE, Mototransport

2020: Ab. Stage 5
2019: 3rd (two stage wins)
2018: Ab. Stage 4 (two stage wins)
2017: 1st (one stage win)
2015: Ab. Stage 4 (one stage win)
2014: Ab. Stage 4 (one stage win)
2012: Ab. Stage 3

2020: Andalucia Rally (Ab.)
2019: FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship (1st): Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (1st), Silk Way Rally (1st), Atamaca Rally (2nd), Rallye du Maroc (Ab.)
2018: Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (2nd), Atacama Rally (Ab.), Rallye du Maroc (9th)
2017: Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (1st), Qatar Cross-Country Rally (1st), Atacama Rally (4th), Desafio Ruta 40 (10th), OiLibya Rally of Morocco (Ab.)
2016: Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (2nd), Qatar Cross-Country Rally (1st), OiLibya Rally of Morocco (2nd)
2015: OiLibya Rally of Morocco (1st)
2014: Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (Ab.), Qatar Cross-Country Rally (Ab.), OiLibya Rally of Morocco (2nd), Rally Dos Sertoes (6th)
2013: Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (3rd), OiLibya Rally of Morocco (5th), Merzouga Rally (1st)
2012: OiLibya Rally of Morocco (10th), Sardinia Rally (13th)
2011: Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (Ab., two stage wins), Australasian Safari (Ab., three stage wins)


“Once you've tasted victory at Dakar, you only ever aim for that again”

By his own admission, Sam Sunderland has enjoyed something of a rollercoaster ride at the Dakar since making his debut in 2012. The 31-year-old's early participations in the world's biggest rally ended in frustration -mechanical issues in 2012 and 2014, a crash in 2015- but the stars aligned in 2017 as he became the first British winner of the Dakar. Ever since standing on the top step of the podium, the Red Bull KTM Factory star has been looking to repeat his triumph, but as he explained before last year's rally, “You need to be perfect and then some more to win the Dakar”. In 2018, he made a storming start as the defending champion, winning two early stages, but then crashed out on day four. The following year he rediscovered his consistency, finishing third behind teammates Toby Price and Matthias Walkner -and were it not for a detached brake disc on Stage 6, he would no doubt have been in the mix for a second victory. The 2020 edition also ended in disappointment as Sunderland, by then the FIM Cross-Country Rallies world champion, crashed out again on Stage 5. Despite alternating highs and lows over his seven participations, the Englishman has never lost his hunger to succeed, and goes into Dakar 2021 determined to wrest supremacy in the bikes back from Honda, who ended KTM's 18-year winning streak with Ricky Brabec last year. Born in Southampton, Sam grew up in Poole and discovered motocross at the age of seven, before moving to Dubai as a teenager and developing a passion for cross-country rallies. Having signed for Honda in 2011 and KTM in 2014, he has become one of the most talented desert riders in the world. Meanwhile, spending over a decade in the United Arab Emirates has given him something of a home advantage now that the Dakar is being held in neighbouring Saudi Arabia. Sam is always one of the big favourites in the bikes, and in spite of a minor fall at the recent Andalucia Rally, he says he's in the best shape of his life going into this 43rd edition.

“My level and form coming into Dakar 2021 is as high as it's ever been, if not better. I'm feeling really good. If you look at my track record, I guess I'm due another podium, hopefully on the top step! But it's not an easy task, there are a lot of strong riders. Whenever I've finished the race I've been on the podium, so I should just aim for that I guess. But you know, once you've tasted victory at Dakar, you only ever aim for that again. It's a really fine line between winning and not crashing, it's not so easy to manage all of it well. In 2020 I felt really strong the first week, then had a little digger on day five. So I'll try to manage it a bit better next year and get it done again. Going into my eighth Dakar, it's funny to say it, I didn't know it was my eighth. I've had a few problems with engines, not arriving at the start of other ones through injury or whatever else. It's been a bit of a rollercoaster with the victories and injuries and things. But yeah, I love my job, and I'm really looking forward to getting back there. I felt strong and confident with the terrain, feeling really good on the bike. Going into Saudi I assumed it was going to be quite similar to Dubai, but it was actually really crazy terrain. Sceneries, rocks, mountains, these huge mounds sticking out of the ground, something out of an Avatar movie, but a really spectacular place to race a bike. So I'm really looking forward to getting back there and getting some sort of redemption in some way. KTM's winning streak was ended this year with Ricky and Honda. It took them a fair while to get it done, but it's great to have the guys pushing and have some more competition. It pushes everybody forward and makes us try to dig a little bit deeper to get the win back next year. We'll definitely be going to get it back."



  • Mark : KTM
  • Model : 450 FACTORY
  • Performance tuner : Red Bull KTM Factory Team
  • Assistance : Red Bull KTM Factory Team
  • Class : G1.1 A.S.O. Elites

Ranking 2021

Scratch Stage General
0 26 26 26
1 4 4 4
2 16 16 12
3 5 5 5
4 11 11 7
5 5 5 5
6 9 9 6
7 4 4 3
8 4 4 3
9 4 4 3
10 8 8 3
11 1 1 2
12 11 11 3

All news of S. Sunderland

Reactions - 15/01 11:16 [GMT +3] - Moto

Sam Sunderland: “A podium on the Dakar is never a bad thing”

For his eighth participation on the Dakar, the KTM rider who became the first British biker to win the rally in 2017 has finished the rally on the podium in 3rd position and is satisfied with his performance.

“I did my best job. I can’t be too disappointed. I tried so hard this morning and started off well, but I couldn’t find one WP in the dunes and...

Newsflashes - 15/01 09:31 [GMT +3] - Moto

Sunderland’s hopes evaporate

The first bikes have already completed 149 km and Sam Sunderland trails Kevin Benavides, who is now opening the way, by a little less than 12 minutes. With only fifty kilometres left to the finish, his hopes of overall triumph are evaporating…

Newsflashes - 15/01 08:55 [GMT +3] - Moto

A complicated start for Sunderland

Sam Sunderland was the first rider out today and is in difficulty after the first 99 kilometres. The British biker has already lost 11 minutes to Ricky Brabec and 10 to Kevin Benavides. After the first quarter of the stage, it is not looking good for Sunderland…

Newsflashes - 15/01 07:32 [GMT +3] - Moto

Sunderland gets the last day underway

Super Sam Sunderland is the first rider to start the last special on the 43rd Dakar. Kevin Benavides, his main rival, will start six minutes after him. Title holder Ricky Brabec will be the sixth man out. The battle between these three men promises to be breath-taking.

Reactions - 14/01 14:53 [GMT +3] - Moto

Sam Sunderland: “I gave my all”

By winning stage 11 on the Dakar, the winner in 2017 has climbed into 2nd position, 4’12’’ behind Kevin Benavides before the final special.

“I knew that today was one of my last chances to try to win and I gave my all, all day. The boys up front did a great job and, you know, I cannot be sad, because I give everything I have and try my best. I didn't...

Newsflashes - 14/01 14:31 [GMT +3] - Moto

Sunderland is victorious!

Super Sam Sunderland has done it! The British biker has not only reacquainted himself with the podium for the first time in 2019 but has taken a superb victory. The KTM rider has skillfully managed to maintain a comfortable lead over the Husqvarna ridden by Pablo Quintanilla to taste success in style.

Newsflashes - 14/01 13:07 [GMT +3] - Moto

Sunderland and Quintanilla still lead

After 362 km, a KTM and a Husqvarna lead the stage, ridden respectively by Super Sam Sunderland and Pablo Quintanilla, with 1’37’’ separating the two riders. Kevin Benavides is still in third, trailing by 40’’, while rookie Daniel Sanders is 6’03’’ behind.

Newsflashes - 14/01 12:27 [GMT +3] - Moto

Sunderland takes the lead

Super Sam Sunderland is imposing his pace after 306 km. The British rider boasts a lead of 1’37’’ over Pablo Quintanilla and almost three minutes over Kevin Benavides. In sixth, Ricky Brabec has lost more than nine minutes to Sunderland and, more significantly, more than six minutes to Benavides! The two Honda bikers are riding alongside and it looks...

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