Thirty-eight year-old Cyril Despres of France has earned the right to celebrate after a grueling 5,000-mile race on some of the most unforgiving terrain ever to meet a motorcycle. According to a KTM press release, he and the rest of the KTM team dominated 2013’s Dakar Rally’s two-wheel competition, winning the top five spots on their Red Bull KTM rally bikes.
“It’s too long, it’s too tough, it’s too hot, it’s too cold, you have to get up early in the morning, you have to find your way out of the dune mazes in Peru and Chile, you have to tackle the stones and cactuses on the courses near Cordoba,” Despres said of the rally, held traditionally from Paris to Dakar but recently changed to a South American route. The race has not gotten any easier however, the Rally remains a true test of endurance for any cyclist. Ranging from Lima, Peru to Santiago, Chile, the rally crosses a multitude of environs and challenges for the racers.
The first half of the rally proved to be the most difficult for Despres. A gearbox problem meant an unscheduled engine change and map finding errors took valuable time. Even with four previous wins under his belt, Despres remains in awe of the journey–and challenges–that the Dakar takes him on.
“We’re up against a grueling element, the desert. Then there are the stones, the Andes… and we experience them. It’s as real as it gets,” says Despres while stating how important it was that he stayed focused. He remains ecstatic over his accomplishment and helped seal KTM’s 12th overall win of the Dakar.
“The day when winning the Dakar becomes easy, it won’t be interesting any more,” said a grinning Despres.
Image courtesy KTM