After getting off to a rocky start at his first ever attempt at the Dakar Rally, CS Santosh has steadily been picking up the pace and coming into his own. The 31-year old rider from Bangalore managed to finish his first day at the Dakar 85th, slowly picking up the pace and ending the second day 50th in the motorcycle standings. And now, after the third stage of the event from San Juan to Chilecito has been completed, Santosh's performance has been consistent.
CS Santosh astride his KTM 450 Rally during the stage from San Juan to Chilecito at the 2015 Dakar Rally
Riding a KTM 450 Rally for the Kini Red Bull Team, Santosh managed to put in a steady performance, ending the day with a time of 3 hours 23 minutes and 29 seconds, almost 49 minutes behind the leader of the day, Matthias Walkner. Santosh was 68th during the stage. This put him 53rd in the overall motorcycle standings after Stage 3 of the Dakar.
For the fourth stage of the rally, the riders including Chunchunguppe Shivashankar (which is how Santosh's name appears in the official Dakar entry list) will travel 594km during the connection stage and 315km during the special stage itself. The stage is expected to be particularly tough as the competitors will experience for the first time the challenges of the Atacama desert.
Photo credit: Shakedown Team
It's been said of the Dakar Rally that it's "a challenge for those who go, a dream for those who stay behind." The levels of difficulty faced in the rally were again brought to the fore, unfortunately, because of a death that shadowed the events of Stage 3 of this year's rally. One of the more extreme motorsport events, the Dakar is where riders bet on their lives while trying to conquer broken desert roads riddled with hurdles of all manner.
The fourth day of theDakarsaw officials rush to trace Polish rider Michal Hernick as his satellite tracker had ceased to transmit signals. They immediately sent out a helicopter to look for him. The search ended 30 minutes later - Henrick's body was discovered with the helmet off, around 300 metres off the track. The condition of the KTM Rally 450 replica he was riding did not indicate a crash. Hernick's body, which was found 206km into the third stage of the rally between San Juan and Chilecito, did not show any external signs of an accident either. However, it is speculated that the cause of death could have been hypothermia and severe dehydration.
The 39-year old rider was participating in the race for the first time. Michal's previous accolades included the completion of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in 2014 and the Morocco Rally in 2013.