Top biker CS Santosh of Bengaluru is set to create history in the New Year when he takes part in the gruelling 9000-km Dakar Rally which is to be held in South America, its new home since political unrest led to its shift from the African continent in 2009.
Santosh, winner of the Maruti Suzuki ‘Desert Storm’ event run in Rajasthan earlier this year after clinching the five-day Raid de Himalayas two years ago, is set to become the first-ever Indian to take part in the January 4-17, 2015 rally in which competitors would traverse three South American countries, Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia, in 13 stages.
“This is a huge thing for me. I started in the super cross in 2005, moved to dirt track events and then cross country. I was longing for new avenues to challenge myself and Dakar is the ultimate challenge for me,” said the six-footer and four-time national super cross champion at a media conference here on Tuesday.
The 31-year-old P B Racing biker, who is being supported by Red Bull, is an invitee to the rally, considered to be the most dangerous of all such events, after his impressive display in the six-event World Cross Country Championship.
Santosh, whose main aim in the first year is to complete the Dakar Rally and gain experience, stood 22nd in Morocco and then had two top ten finishes, 10th in Abu Dhabi and 8th in Qatar, that fetched him an overall 9th position in the World Cross Country Championship.
This display coupled with the fact that he is from India has brought in a lot of interest from the organisers, according to Santosh who has taken part in a number of events in India’s southern neighbour Sri Lanka. “You need to be invited after applying for an entry. I finished 9th in the six-event World Cross Country Championship by taking part in the events held in Morocco, Abu Dhabi and Qatar. The Dakar organisers are excited about my participation,” he said.
Santosh is to ride a KTM 450 rally bike. The Dakar Rally is to start and end in Buenos Aires. Cars, trucks and quad bikes are the other vehicles for which competitions are to be held.