As seasoned veterans prepare to face the wilds of South America once again, there are young racers looking to make Dakar Rally history.  One such athlete is Sam Sunderland.  The twenty-four year old Brit is based in Dubai and has been training hard to ride on sand as well as rocky terrain.  Sunderland, who started riding at the age of ten, is the youngest member of HRC’s 2014 Dakar Rally Team; and has been making a name for himself on the Honda CRF450 motorcycle.  Although injury prevented him from competing in the Dakar 2012, he’s going in to this race with some momentum.  He placed fifth in the OiLibya Rally of Morocco and won the Berzouga Rally afterwards.

Sam Sunderland
Sam Sunderland of the Honda HRC Rally Team relaxes during the Dakar Team Preparations for 2014 in Almeria, Spain on October 27th, 2013 // Alberto Lessmann/Red Bull Content Pool

“You can never be too confident but to get a win before the Dakar has put me in a good mood ahead of the trip.  I’m going into the race with confidence in my riding, faith in my bike and the support of a great team.” – Sam Sunderland, Honda’s Sam Sunderland is dashing towards Dakar by Tim Sturtridge, Red Bull

With 195 other bike competitors including masters like Cyril Despres and Marc Coma, Sunderland definitely has his work cut out for him.  We’ll keep an eye on this young talent come January 5th to 8th 2014 across Argentina, Bolivia and Chile.