That CS Santosh is one determined chap is really no secret. He's displayed this determination at rally-raid events across the world, and it was this that he demonstrated when he became the first Indian to start and finish the prestigious Dakar Rally in 2015. The race to the 2016 edition of the Dakar hasn't been easy for Santosh, but he's finally done it with a little help from the good folk over at Red Bull India and Ceat. Santosh is now all set to compete in the 2016 edition of the Dakar Rally, that kicks off on January 3, 2016, astride a Suzuki 450 Rally.
CS Santosh is all set for his second attempt at the Dakar Rally, this time astride a Suzuki 450 Rally
I'm looking forward to adding a second Dakar under my belt and to be competitive for a good position at the end of those 15 days racing. I am thankful to Red Bull India and Ceat Tyres, for their support and encouragement for making this adventure possible," Santosh said at a press conference just before he rushed off to begin a rather rigorous training schedule in the dunes ahead of the rally.
Each year the organisers of the Dakar try to make the rally just a little bit tougher for competitors, and this year is no different. Of the 9,000km this year, 4,500km are a part of the competitive stages of the event. And of the 13 stages this year, there are two marathon stages during which there is no outside mechanical assistance allowed. Which means that after battling dune, dust and desert, riders like Santosh will have to pay no heed to the fatigue they feel, and instead will have to service and repair their own machines.
This edition of the Dakar will also see competitors spending two nights 11,000ftabove sea level (that's 3,352 metres). The fifth competitive stage will see riders climbing through high mountain passes en route Bolivia. Along the way, they will need to pass a point 15,000ft (4572m) high, which is the highest point that the Dakar has ever reached in South America. And while Peru has been dropped from the Dakar's route this year, riders have navigational challenges aplenty, which they need to try and tackle ahead of the quads, cars and trucks.
When you're following the 2016 edition of the Dakar, you need to keep in mind No.56. That's the same number that was allotted to Santosh last year, and he's riding with it this year too. There are a total of 152 moto riders who will compete in the event, which means Santosh has some stiff competition this year.
You'll get updates - from the day the Dakar kicks off in Buenos Aires till it concludes in Rosario on January 16, 2016 - right here.