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HomeClassic Car InvestThomas Kongshoj to become first Danish rider at Dakar since 2011

Thomas Kongshoj to become first Danish rider at Dakar since 2011

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It has been over a decade since a Dane competed on two wheels at the Dakar Rally. As acceptance letters continue to make their way to those hoping for a shot at the 2023 edition, Thomas Kongshøj will break his country’s dry spell.

Assuming no change of plans, Kongshøj is slated to be the first Danish rider to race at Dakar since Jes Munk in 2011. Munk, the first Dakar competitor from Denmark in general, switched to four-wheel racing following a severe wreck in a 2013 motorcycle accident that left him comatose for fifteen days, and his 2015 Dakar entry came in a buggy.

Kongshøj is a ten-time motocross and enduro champion in his home country, winning the 2007 national motocross title before scoring nine total enduro crowns from 2013 to 2018. Outside of Denmark, he won the Swedish national enduro championship in 2014 followed by the Sea to Sky enduro race in a year later. When not racing, he runs Thomas Kongshøj Adventure for adventure riding and motorcyclist development.

In 2021, he expanded his playing field to cross-country rallying by débuting in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, which is currently a leg on the World Rally-Raid Championship like the Dakar Rally. Piloting a KTM with DUUST Rally Team, he finished fourth in the Rally2 class and eighth overall. In March, Kongshøj entered the FIM Bajas World Cup‘s Qatar International Baja and finished eleventh overall; he had physically placed fourth but suffered a time penalty for a malfunctioning GPS and lost additional ground while helping a fellow rider.

“Holy shit. This is insane. I cannot believe it. I am a proud man,” began a post by Kongshøj on social media. “I have now received a response from my team and Saudi Arabia that I have just been enrolled and qualified to drive Dakar Rally 2023! A dream that I have had since I was very young is now coming true. I’m SO happy and SO proud of my team and the journey we’re going on in the next three years.

“Dakar Rally 2023 will be held in Saudi Arabia and will start on 31 December 2022 and run until 15 January 2023. The route will run from the beaches of the Red Sea to the sands of the Arabian Gulf of Dammam. The trip includes a prologue and 14 stages from the northwestern mountain ranges and further to the southeast. With a total of 9000 kilometers this edition will offer the longest competition distance since 2014. It’s going to be an adventure in a class of its own and I’m really looking forward to it!

“I look forward to representing Denmark, which has not been represented since 2011 in my class in the world’s largest and toughest off-road race. I hope you will follow along at home behind the screen. Are you ready for real adventures?”

While major news, Kongshøj knows not to set his expectations too high as a rookie; responding to a fan on Facebook, he explained the “goal is to complete the first year”. As indicated in his post, he envisions competing in the 2024 and 2025 events and obviously improving his performance with each run.

Kongshøj intends to hold a sponsorship event at Feddet Strand Resort in Faxe on 31 August to discuss promotional opportunities and his plans for the Rally.

The 2023 Dakar Rally is scheduled for 31 December 2022 to 15 January.

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