Sam Sunderland receives RAC’s prestigious Segrave Trophy

Motorcycle racer and first British Dakar Rally winner lauded by Royal Automobile Club in memory of legendary Sir Henry Segrave

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Motorcycle racer Sam Sunderland is the latest recipient of the coveted Segrave Trophy, presented in a ceremony at the Royal Automobile Club on London’s Pall Mall. His achievement? Last year, the Red Bull KTM factory team rider triumphed over extreme riding conditions through Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina, to become the first Briton ever to win a Dakar Rally crown.

Sir Henry Segrave’s widow originally commissioned the Segrave Trophy in 1930, after her pilot and racer husband – the first man to hold both land and water speed records – died while breaking the water speed record on Lake Windermere. Her wish was that it would celebrate British nationals who demonstrated ‘outstanding skill, courage and initiative on land, water and in air – the Spirit of Adventure’.

Previous trophy holders include Amy Johnson CBE (1932), Sir Malcolm Campbell (1933 and 1939), Bruce McLaren (1969), Sir Jackie Stewart (1973 and 1999) and Sir Frank Williams (1992). Motorcycle racers include John McGuinness (2016), John Surtees CBE (2012), Joey Dunlop OBE (2000 posthumously), Mike Hailwood MBE GM (1979), Barry Sheene MBE (1977 and 1984) and Geoff Duke OBE (1951).

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Of Sunderland, Royal Automobile Club chairman Tom Purves said: ‘It’s our honour to pay tribute to Sam’s remarkable achievement in what is considered the world’s toughest endurance race. His bravery, speed, navigation skills and adaption to temperatures, terrain and altitude are all the qualities that Lady Segrave wished to celebrate and Sir Henry would have admired.’

Dorset-born Sunderland, who made his Dakar debut in 2012 after winning the UAE National Baja Championship in 2010 and 2011, said: ‘I’m absolutely honoured to receive this prestigious award. I’m so proud to have my name alongside so many of my racing heroes like Surtees, Sheene and Dunlop. I have huge respect for everyone who has been a part of the Trophy’s history.’

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