Dakar defending champion Sam Sunderland is out of this year’s race after he dropped into a large hole and suffered back compression.
Despite continuing to ride on, loss of feeling in his legs forced the Red Bull KTM rider to be evacuated from the race. Sunderland was flown to the Peruvian capital of Lima for examination.
Sunderland announced on Instagram that he has two squashed discs…
‘Thank you for all the kind messages, sorry to be out so soon and let down my team and supporters, I’m currently sat here feeling pretty lucky. It’s a scary thing to loose the feeling in your legs but now it’s ok, I still have some pain from two squashed discs but I will be ok soon enough. Good luck to my team for the rest of the race!’
Alex Doringer – KTM Rally Team Manager said: “Unfortunately Sam had an accident today while searching for a waypoint around the 230km mark.
He jumped into a hole and compressed his back.
Although he was able to continue for the next five kilometres, he was then forced to retire when the pain became too bad. Initially he was airlifted back to the bivouac but was then taken onto the hospital in Lima for further checks.
I managed to talk to Sam, before he flew to hospital, and although disappointed, he was still in good spirits. Overall, the team is performing well, and we’re pleased with how the rally is going.”