Daniel Sanders suffers major leg break
Wednesday 31st May, 2023 - 4:01pm
Last-start world championship round winner Daniel Sanders faces months out of action with a broken leg.
According to the Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing team, the Australian was riding an RX 450F at home in the outback when he had a “minor crash” on Sunday (May 28).
The consequences, however, were not minor, with Sanders having already undergone surgery on a broken right femur which is expected to keep him out of competition for “several months”.
The 28-year-old himself said, “I’m so annoyed, not to mention disappointed.
“All I was doing was having fun on the rally bike and had a small crash, but I’ve ended up like this with a broken leg.
“Thankfully, the surgery seems to have gone well, which is good news – I’m feeling good too.
“It’s going to take a while before I can get back on the bike and racing again, but I’m going to do my best to make it happen ASAP.
“Thanks to all the team for all their support, and hopefully we can carry on the good results from Sonora into the rest of this year.”
GasGas Rally Team Manager, Norbert Stadlbauer, added, “It’s really sad for the team to have Daniel sidelined with injury so soon after he put in such an amazing performance to win the Sonora Rally.
“It’s been a tough year for the team with Sam [Sunderland] also suffering from injury at the beginning of the season.
“But we have to keep looking forward, and as such, we wish Daniel all the best for a quick recovery and look forward to having back underneath the GasGas tent and racing again.
“We’re not sure how long the recovery will take, but obviously the main focus, as always, is the Dakar next January.
“We’ll be working our hardest to be prepared fully for then.”
The injury is but the latest drama in a tumultuous 18 months for one of the rising stars of offroad endurance racing.
Sanders broke an elbow and wrist in a highway crash which left him “lucky to be alive” during a liaison at the 2022 Dakar Rally and, after several operations, only made his return to competition in the corresponding event of this year.
In Dakar 2023, he battled illness, which may or may not have been caused by a thorn which became stuck in his arm during the first week of the event and caused pain for the rest of the fortnight, but scored a stage win and finished seventh overall.
The Victorian was ruled out of Round 2 of the FIM World Rally-Raid Championship in Abu Dhabi in order to let his elbow finally recover properly from the aforementioned crash, then scored a breakthrough event win in Round 3, the Sonora Rally.
Sanders holds fifth in the championship ahead of the final two rounds of the season in Argentina in August and Morocco in October, with Dakar 2024 to get underway either very late this year or in early-January.