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Shocking fall in Dakar: World champions Sunderland leave after crash – teammate Walkner as first responder

Shocking fall in Dakar: World champions Sunderland leave after crash – teammate Walkner as first responder

New Year’s Day in the Dakar was overshadowed by a serious crash: Sunderland crashed after only 52 kilometers and Walkner, who had started two minutes behind him, was the first on the scene.

The Austrian described the dramatic situation on his blog: “It went quickly at the beginning, a relatively sandy track, it was really easy to drive.” “Then we went to the bottom of a river where there were very nasty big stones in the sand that we didn’t see.”

“And after only ten kilometers I found Sam on the ground. He’s one of my best friends and team mates. That was very sad for me to watch. It’s really bad when you prepare all year and then it’s over after 60 kilometers.”


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Sunderland themselves later gave their first clear word: “I’m reasonably fine, I have a broken shoulder and a big bruise on my back. Coming out of the Dakar is a bitter pill. Thank you Matthias Walkner for stopping by to help.”

Dakar 2023: Sam Sunderland’s motorcycle has been moved away

Image credit: Imago

Dakar: Walkner once had a bad fall

Walkner himself has been through such a situation. In 2016, he fell in the Dakar, South America, during the seventh stage. The femur was fractured in the process. At that time, his colleagues helped him until the medical team arrived by helicopter.

That is why the guy from Salzburg stayed with Sunderland until the assistants arrived there.

Walkner continued his race after an emergency helicopter landed at the scene. “It was very difficult for me to get back into the race, because of course those impressions are part of the equation. I started in the field of the top drivers, then fell back to about 15 minutes because of the first aid service and the helicopter waiting time, and then had to manage the whole day alone and without Refer to the other top drivers.”

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In the overall result, after the prologue and the first stage, Walkner was initially 21st, 17:52 minutes behind. He was given a time credit to help him out and is only five and a half minutes behind in tenth place.

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