Who are the Brits in the 2018 Dakar?

As Sam Sunderland defends his Dakar title, we look at the other riders flying the Union Jack

Who are the Brits in the 2018 Dakar?

LAST YEAR Sam Sunderland made history as the first British competitor to win the Dakar in the rally’s 39-year history.

And after a year of intense training, Sunderland is back in South America and ready to defend his title.

But he’s not the only Brit on a bike. Former Superbike racer Max Hunt and privateer Lyndon Poskitt are lining up alongside Sunderland, hoping to make their mark on the World’s most dangerous race.

Sam Sunderland

Class: Elite
Age: 28
Team: Red Bull KTM Factory Team
Bike: KTM 450 Rally Replica

Sunderland began racing motocross at the age of seven, but it wasn’t until 19 that his rally raid career took off. While living with his aunt and uncle in Dubai, Sunderland began racing in the local Baja series, where his talent was immediately noticed. He signed first with Honda in 2011, and moved to KTM in 2014.

The 28-year-old won the last year’s Dakar after three failed attempts – due to mechanical issues in 2012 and 2014 and a crash in 2015.

Last year he finished 32 minutes clear of Red Bull KTM Factory teammate Matthias Walkner to take the title and become the first British competitor, across bikes, cars and ATVs, to win the infamous Dakar Rally.

In this year’s event, the reigning champion began with all guns blazing, taking victory in the first 31km special stage, finishing in 20 minutes and 55 seconds, 33 seconds faster than Yamaha’s Adrien Van Beveren in second place.

Unfortunately, the Southampton-born rider didn’t fare so well yesterday, coming seventh in the 267km special stage, completing it in 3 hours, 2 minutes and 45 seconds – 6 minutes and 1 second behind leader Joan Barreda Bort of the Monster Energy Honda team.

Overall, Sunderland sits in fourth, with a total time of 3 hours, 43 minutes and 20 seconds – 5 minutes and 4 seconds behind leader Bort.

Lyndon Poskitt

Class: Malle Moto
Age: 39
Team: No team
Bike: KTM 450 Rally

Former aerospace engineer Poskitt first raced the Dakar in 2013, before a suspected heart attack that same year led him to quit his job and take up motorcycling full time.

Having been building and modifying his own bikes since a young age, Poskitt was well-equipped to build the unlimited off-road adventure bike and so he set out on a mission to travel and race around the world, a project he called ‘Races to Places’.

Since he set off, he has covered more than 110,000 miles through 57 countries, competing 5 rallies along the way.

He returned to the Dakar last year, coming second in the extremely tough Malle Moto class, which allows no team and no outside assistance.

This year he is aiming to take the Malle Moto title, at the same time also producing a daily Dakar video for his Youtube channel.

In Saturday’s stage, he finished in 59th, with a time of 30 minutes and 46 seconds – 9 minutes and 51 seconds behind the leader, and yesterday he finished in 60th, taking 3 hours, 50 minutes and 22 seconds to complete the stage – 53 minutes and 38 seconds behind the leader. Overall, Poskitt sits at 56th, with a total time of 4 hours, 21 minutes and 8 seconds –  1 hour, 2 minutes ad 32 seconds behind the race leader.

Max Hunt

Age: 34
Team: HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing
Bike: Husqvarna FR 450RR Dakar 

Hunt, who is known as ‘Mad Max’ due to his love of extreme sports, began riding at the age of ten, and competed in British Superbike Championship until a serious crash in 2011.

He made his Dakar debut in 2017, securing a 52nd place finish. His younger brother, Harry Hunt, finished 10th in the cars the year before. 

Only two weeks ago Hunt had his licence revoked after being found guilty of riding a hoverboard on the road without insurance.

However, that didn’t halt his Dakar plans, and on Saturday morning the 34-year-old lined up on the start line with the 150-odd other motorcycle competitors.

On that day’s debut stage, Hunt came 55th, with a time of 29 minutes and 57 seconds – 9 minutes and 2 seconds behind leader Sunderland. Yesterday, he mimicked that position, taking 3 hours, 44 minutes and 26 seconds to complete the 267km special stage. Overall he sits in 52nd place, with a total time of 4 hours, 14 minutes and 23 seconds – 55 minutes and 47 seconds behind the race leader.