Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service Team
Austrian biker reveals gruelling lengths he went to for maiden Dakar victory.
Austrian Matthias Walkner has revealed the amazing lengths he went to in order to complete his maiden Dakar Rally motorbike victory last week.
Speaking to Servus TV, the Kuchl native explained: “It’s really exhausting as you sleep an average of four to five hours.
“I would have wished for a few more hours of sleep in Bolivia especially, where we were reaching altitudes of 4,700m to 4,800m.”
Walkner has returned to a hero’s welcome in Austria where his popularity currently is rivalling the likes of alpine ski star Marcel Hirscher.
In terms of the arduous weather conditions, he said: “After the rest day in La Paz, it rained the whole 320km in the morning just to reach the 4am start and the temperature was only two degrees.
“The special stage was 430km and it rained for 250km. You’re going at 150km/h and you can hardly see anything because there is condensation on the goggles. Everything is soaked. It’s really tough, but worth it.”
With Benavides and Price waiting to pounce, Walkner knew he had to dig deep over the closing stages once he had taken the overall lead midway through the race.
He added: “Like a soccer game when you’re leading 5-0, you don’t need to go all in and risk everything but you need to stay safe.
“I needed my focus and concentration, but it was hard not to get lost. And if you crash, you immediately lose the lead.
“As long as I remain healthy until the end of 2020, I still have a contract for the next two Dakars.
“I guess this year I will need a little longer to recover – the party will go on!”