HT@Dakar: India's CS Santosh gets going in Chile | other | Hindustan Times
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HT@Dakar: India's CS Santosh gets going in Chile

CS Santosh made a spectacular comeback in the Dakar on Monday. The Indian biker had been in terrible shape the day before on account of the cold and wet conditions.

other Updated: Jan 13, 2015 13:51 IST
Sukhwant Basra
CS Santosh

CS Santosh made a spectacular comeback in the Dakar on Monday. The Indian biker had been in terrible shape the day before on account of the cold and wet conditions. However, he leapt from his starting position of 63 to end the stage at 33. The large amount of water on the salt flats made it a tricky proposition for bikers to stay on the throttle as the water forced itself into the electrics and ruined the machines. "The bike refused to start during the liaison stage. Luckily I managed to jump start it or else my Dakar was finished," he said.

As he came into the night halt, Santosh was beaming. "It went good today (Monday)," he exclaimed as soon as he stopped. "I felt good out there." His hairline toe fracture was also not bothering him. "It's all these pills I am popping. I can't feel any pain. So I am going full pep where I can."

Santosh could hardly dismount and then had to be physically supported to the showers on Sunday. He had nearly got swept away in a river that had risen on account of the unseasonal rain, had a terrible crash on his right shoulder that actually cracked his helmet and was shivering on account of the sudden fall in temperature. As he came in he could hardly talk and certainly not walk. Only after some time in the warmth of the shower room and after changing into warm clothes provided by the organisers could Santosh begin to unravel his day for your correspondent.http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2015/1/1301pg26b.jpg

"It's just getting to be crazy. Even in the best physical shape of my life I am so tired that I can hardly stand. The Dakar is excruciating," he said. The stage form Iquique to Uyuni in Bolivia was a marathon stage which meant that the riders could not get any help from their service vehicles. "I almost got swept away and after that I wasted about 30 minutes changing my filter and draining the air box. So, I don't have to do anything more to the bike."

He then grabbed his helmet: "See, another crash." There is an obvious crack on the right side. "I fell about 10 times in all that slush." But wasn't the aim to finish? "What's the point if I don't feel good and don't push it? I am trying to be safe but I must ride in that zone which allows me to retain my own self-respect." Earlier he had smashed his left shoulder, now it was the right one's turn. Evened it out didn't you? Despite the pain Santosh grinned wide. "It's ok, I can handle it."

On Monday it was pouring in the morning and the start was delayed. The day would see the bikers ride back to Iquique and the conditions looked ominous. There was also a mass start on the salt flats with separate lots being let off together.

The special stage was also reduced from 472 to 378 km and then subsequently to 250. The 4200m pass bit of the special was also cancelled as there was fresh snow at that height. The day ended with a 38 km sandy stage culminating into a spectacular descent from the hills behind the bivouac.



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