CS Santosh has won multiple championships in National Supercross and Dirt Tracks, and the 34-year-old was the first Indian to race in the Dakar — which is perhaps the most dangerous off-road race in the world.
Santosh told ESPN he wants to be remembered as the “fastest Indian” to race in the event.
“From being the first guy to go to Dakar to being the guy that performs, are two different things,” Santosh said. “Often it doesn’t happen in the same generation. I’m not going to sit here and say that I’m going to win the Dakar. That’s not going to happen. I want to finish in the first 20.
“Actually my real goal is to first finish and then to come on the TV highlights. I want one of the clips to say that ‘this is the fastest Indian’. I need to be in the top 20 in one of the days to achieve that. It’ll be a really cool thing to take back home.”
Santosh wants to be on TV, and he has a chance to do some from Jan. 6-20. The race will be in Peru for the first time since 2013, and Santosh said he’s never raced in Peru before.
He finished 47th the last time he raced in the Dakar, but he’s more optimistic about his chances this time.
“All the earlier ones I was either vary, nervous or not prepared,” Santosh said. “I usually ride within my comfort zone that’s why I’ve been fairly consistent. But this year I’ve pushed it and tried to come out of my shell and find speed which I know I have. I’ve been trying to simulate the kind of energy that I would put out the whole day at Dakar. I train, eat a bit, again train so it’s not like I train and then go and rest.”
Santosh said he feels more prepared this time, so hopefully he has a positive showing and improves from the last time he raced in the Dakar.