Bangalore biker CS Santosh is all set to become the first Indian to participate in the prestigious and most adventurous 9000-km Dakar Rally to be held in South America (across Argentina, Chile and Bolivia) from January 4-17 next year. The rally was shifted to its new destination from the African continent in 2009 due to the political unrest.

Bangalore's CS Santosh poses with his bike during a media briefing in the city yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble
Bangalore's CS Santosh poses with his bike during a media briefing in the city yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble 

The 31-year-old rider isn't looking for any miracles though and has set an achievable target for himself — to finish the rally. "Being a part of the rally itself is huge. I started taking part in the Super Cross races in 2005, moved to dirt track events and then cross-country. I was yearning for new adventures and this is the
ultimate race for any biker," the Red Bull-supported athlete told reporters yesterday.

Not an easy ride
For India's best off-road biker, it hasn't been easy task getting an invitation for the mega event considering the money involved. It's no wonder then that he is grateful to his sponsors. "I've been really lucky to have Red Bull's KTM team supporting me and also Pune's PB Racing, who will be funding my international projects. Dakar isn't easy, its minimum budget is 100,000 Euros (Rs 85 lakhs) easily," said Santosh, who will compete astride a KTM 450.

The six-footer, four-time national super cross champion, explained why Dakar will be tough. "The toughest part of the rally is navigating through the fesh-fesh (sand that has been worn down from its granular size into dust-like particles that closely resembles talcum powder. When layered thinly on hard rock, fesh-fesh can be as slippery as ice, and in deep pits, it is essentially quicksand, minus the water)."

Santosh has set a realistic time frame for himself to do well at the rally. "It will take a minimum of four years for me to get good results at Dakar, but it's my ultimate aim to win it one day," the speed-demon signed off.