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Gallery: Sam Sunderland given keys to Dubai – takes KTM 450 SX-F to places never ridden before

Sunderland given the keys to Dubai and takes a KTM 450 SX-F to places never ridden before

Sam Sunderland in Dubai

Sam Sunderland in Dubai

Red Bull athlete Sam Sunderland becomes one of a handful of individuals to climb to the top of the tallest building in the world.

Sunderland also becomes the first to ride a motorbike through some of Dubai’s most iconic landmarks – including The Dubai Mall, Emirates Golf Course and Jumeirah Mina A’Salam.

Winner of the 2017 Dakar Rally Sam Sunderland has taken his preparation for the 2022 edition of Dakar to a new level, quite literally, by racing to the top of the world’s tallest building – Burj Khalifa – on his motorbike. In doing so, Sunderland passed a litany of iconic landmarks in Dubai and joins an exclusive and illustrious list of people, which includes Tom Cruise and Will Smith, to reach the dizzying heights of the 828m tall skyscraper.

Sunderland has spent over a decade of his life residing in Dubai, and the chance to stand atop the skyline proved to be a significant personal milestone for the UK native. The one-time qualified lift engineer left the UK to visit family in Dubai, but it was soon after he landed that he fell in love with the sport of Rally Raid, and credits the move as the reason he started racing and eventually won Dakar and then the 2019 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship.

“I lived in Dubai for just over 10 years, and it’s a place that enabled me to realise my dream of becoming a Dakar competitor,” Sunderland said. “Without this experience, it’s hard to say whether I would have ever become world champion.”

The Dakar Rally is well known for testing riders through a variety of vast landscapes, and in this latest project which came to life in collaboration with Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism, Sunderland is given an access-all-areas pass to the city. The Portsmouth-born Dakar rider encounters multiple terrains and scenarios synonymous with the fabric of Dubai culture, to ride in areas where a motorbike had never been ridden before.

Crossing between new and old Dubai, highlights of Sunderland’s ride include navigating the mountain bike trails of Hatta, sailing over the iconic dunes of the Al Faqa desert and hitting jumps over the fairways of one of the city’s elite golf courses. The all-action riding feature proves in a unique and inspiring way that Dubai remains one of the most exciting cities in the world.

In the immediate future, Sunderland is setting his sights on history, as he bids to become the first Brit to claim a second Dakar title. Currently sat in first place at the mid-way stage, the prestigious multi-staged race will enter its final stage on Friday, January 14. But even with Dakar success on his mind, Sunderland is well aware of the role a move to Dubai played in kickstarting his professional riding career.

“It means a lot to be able to come back here and be given the opportunity to ride in places no one else has, and to be able to say that I’ve stood right at the top of the tallest building in the world is all a bit surreal. I’d like to thank Red Bull and the city of Dubai for making this once-in-a-lifetime experience possible.”

Scroll down for the gallery and to watch the video if you missed it earlier…

Sam Sunderland in Dubai

Sam Sunderland in Dubai

Sam Sunderland in Dubai

Sam Sunderland in Dubai

Sam Sunderland in Dubai

Sam Sunderland in Dubai

Sam Sunderland in Dubai

Sam Sunderland in Dubai

Sam Sunderland in Dubai

Sam Sunderland in Dubai

Sam Sunderland in Dubai

Sam Sunderland in Dubai

Sam Sunderland in Dubai

Sam Sunderland in Dubai

Sam Sunderland in Dubai

Sam Sunderland in Dubai

Sam Sunderland in Dubai

Sam Sunderland in Dubai

Sam Sunderland in Dubai

Sam Sunderland in Dubai

Sam Sunderland in Dubai

Sam Sunderland in Dubai

Sam Sunderland on top of the world in Dubai

Sam Sunderland on top of the world in Dubai

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