Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Thomas Kongshoj plans Dakar return in 2024 and beyond

In January, Thomas Kongshøj became the first Dane to run the Dakar Rally on a bike in over a decade. Having signed a five-year contract with Joyride Race Service, he intends to return to the race in 2024 onwards. In an interview with Claus Vesterager Martinus of Danish menswear site Kaufmann, he recounted his career leading up to his Dakar début and plans for the future, whch includes potentially racing on four wheels.

“I have been tinkering a bit with the idea of ​​driving the Dakar Rally in a car,” said Kongshøj. “I’ve gradually started to test the possibilities in practice.”

Kongshøj hails from a decorated motocross and enduro background, having won nine domestic enduro championships and even the Swedish national title. In 2021, he began dabbling in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship (predecessor to the current World Rally-Raid Championship) and finished fourth in class in his maiden start at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.

The outing was enough to earn him a spot in the 2022 Dakar Rally via the Road to Dakar programme, which rewards outstanding racers with no prior Dakar experience, and he deferred it to 2023. According to Kongshøj, it cost him 200,000 Danish krone (€26,858) to afford the seat with Joyride.

Upon starting the 2023 Dakar Rally, he became the first Danish rider to race the event since Jes Munk in 2011. Things got off to a slow start when he crashed and broke four ribs on just the second day of the race. Continuing with painkillers, he finished twenty-second overall in Rally2 with a best daily performance of twenty-first in Stage #13.

“It was an enormously gruelling race,” Kongshøj told Kaufmann. “Cold, rain, and pain from the broken ribs. When you also consider that there were fourteen stages, in which there are only a few breaks of twenty minutes to refuel and to eat some energy bars, you are quite impressed when you reach the finish line. It was really a trip where you are mentally pushed to the very bottom.”

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