The Royal Automobile Club has awarded its prestigious Segrave Trophy to Dorset motorcycle racer Sam Sunderland for becoming the first Briton to take a Dakar Rally crown by winning the motorcycle category in last year’s gruelling event.
The rally started in Asuncion, Paraguay, and ran through the vast, rugged terrain of Bolivia and Argentina, and Red Bull KTM factory team leader Sam took the lead of the fifth of 12 stages, maintaining it to the bitter end and completing the final Argentinian stage 32 minutes ahead of his closest rival, team-mate Matthias Walkner, to secure the title and deliver KTM its 16th straight Dakar victory.
The Segrave Trophy was commissioned by Lady Segrave in 1930 soon after her husband Sir Henry died after breaking the water speed record on Lake Windermere, and it was her wish that it would celebrate British nationals who demonstrated outstanding skill, courage and initiative in the spirit of adventure, whether on land, sea or in the air.
At the presentation lunch, Royal Automobile Club Chairman Tom Purves said: “It is our honour to pay tribute to Sam’s remarkable achievement in what is considered the world’s toughest endurance race. His bravery, speed, navigation skills and adaption to temperatures, terrain and altitude are all qualities that Lady Segrave wished to celebrate, and which Sir Henry would have admired.”
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