SA's Kirsten Landman dubbed a Dakar hero after showing the spirit of Ubuntu in Saudi

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Kirsten Landman
Kirsten Landman
Kirsten Landman

Kirsten Landman has taken the South African spirit of Ubuntu to Saudi Arabia. Early on in the race, the KwaZulu-Natal-based rider sacrificed her own race when a fellow rider got injured.

This happened in Stage 4, but Landman's actions in assisting the fallen rider have seen her being called one of this year's Dakar heroes.

Starting Stage 4, Landman and Saudi Arabian Mishal Alghuneim set off in tricky, sandy conditions. The duo navigated around a sand bowl, but a second, smaller one took Alghuneim by surprise. He landed in the bowl quite hard, with the shock shattering his 2023 Dakar dreams.

"My right ankle is in pretty bad shape, but okay. My left one is definitely broken," Alguneim said.

Landman aborted her stage to tend to Alghuneim, radioing for a helicopter and sticking around until he was in the aircraft and under the medics' full control.

A challenging race

For Landman, the 2023 Dakar has not been too kind. From the start, it has been an almost impossible challenge as she tried to make the most of each stage. And though it may not be where she imagined she'd be after eight stages, the South African is currently 79th of the 106 remaining riders.

Landman has been complaining about severe fatigue in this year's race, but she keeps a positive attitude and said on her Facebook page that the rest day could not have come at a better time.

READ: Henk Lategan steps up to hand Toyota Gazoo Racing a 1-2 at Dakar's halfway mark

"The start to stage 8 felt like I was back in KZN with a misty and wet morning. [It] was a weird stage for me," she posted.

"The tiredness, fatigue, [and] sickness really set in today. My head was in the clouds. Raced 90km with a tinted lens - so stupid, but you can't think straight when there is so much fatigue.

"So I'm racing, and I can't see clearly, and only at 90km does my brain switch on, and I stop to change to a clear lens. Felt super sketchy the whole stage, so I just clocked the kilometres and took it easy.

"I'm so happy tomorrow is [the] rest day. My body and my bike need some good TLC."

Racing resumes on 10 January, with the 2023 Dakar culminating on 15 January in Dammam.

Kirsten Landman
Kirsten Landman, Dakar 2023

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