Dakar 2023: Heroic Hillier heads home

| | World News
Picture: Dakar

Britain’s James Hillier has completed the Dakar 2023 unaided and with a dislocated shoulder on his rookie run.

After 15 days in the Saudi Arabian desert, 70 hours of riding and an injury picked up on stage five, Hillier came home 76th in the overall rankings and 13th in the ‘Original by Motul’ class. His task made ever the more challenging by opting for the assistance-free version of the already infamous rally-raid on his first attempt and picking up a six-hour penalty for the ambulance ride at the end of the opening week.

Having initially expected an easier final night, at least by the Dakar standards, late mechanical issues and heavy overnight rain meant the challenge really didn’t let up until the 37-year-old and his Rich Energy OMG GasGas 450 Rally met the flag on Sunday afternoon.

“I think it’s still sinking in!” Hiller said from the finish line. “That was a hard, hard two weeks of riding. And not just the riding, everything!

“A hard two weeks, not enough sleep, lots of work but this is what I came for,” he continued proudly clutching his medals. “So it’s paid off. I did what I came to do and now it will just take some time to sink in. I’m going to go home to sleep!”