Rally: KTM rider Sam Sunderland wins the inaugural Silk Way Rally – Sonik on top in quads

Rally: KTM rider Sam Sunderland wins the inaugural Silk Way Rally – Sonik on top in quads

FIM Cross-Country Rallies Championship, round 2

Silk Way Rally 
July 6-16, 2019

For 10 days, 24 motorcycle riders and three quad entrants tackled the first edition of the Silk Way Rally to be included in the FIM calendar. They tackled 5,003km, of which 2,588km, were timed against the clock, in addition to a Marathon stage with a Parc Ferme at the bivouac in Ulan Bator.

After administrative and technical checks in Irkutsk (Russia) – close to Lake Baikal– the riders discovered the taiga forests of Eastern Siberia and then crossed the Mongolian steppes to finish in the Gobi Desert in China.

It was a fantastic sporting adventure and, ultimately, Sam Sunderland (KTM) won the motorcycle category ahead of Andrew Short (Husqvarna) and Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha). Rafal Sonik (Yamaha) took the Quad and Veteran categories, Laia Sanz (KTM) won the Women’s category and Luciano Benavides (KTM) was the top Junior.

Van Beveren (Yamaha), Sunderland (KTM),Short (Husqvarna) ©RallyZone

At the finish of the demanding final stage, Sam Sunderland, who had been racing with a cold, expressed his joy: “I rode quietly in this last stage, because I had a good lead on Short. I did not want to get lost and I was able to stay focused on my navigation. I am very happy to win this difficult race, because I was sick and it was not easy to manage. I love the adventure side of off-road rallies and, to discover three countries in one race, was wonderful. We crossed the forests in Russia and Mongolia. I have never in my life raced so fast on tracks and these last three days in China have been an incredible contrast with dunes and camel grass. It was a hard race but very well organised with a very nice course!”

Winner of the penultimate special stage, Andrew Short opened the road for the first time in his career on the track to get to the finish in Dunhuang. “It’s so different to ride without tracks,” he said. “An incredible experience, but at first I did not go out of my way. It was a very nice race, very well organised, a nice event that gave me a lot more!”

For his part, Adrien Van Beveren lost some time looking for a waypoint in the last Special, but maintained his place on the podium, while his teammates had bad luck. Xavier de Soultrait broke his fork in Siberia and lost two stages and, in Jiayuguan, on SS9, he broke his brakes in barbed wire. Franco Caimi ran out of fuel before refueling.

It was a mixed race for Honda. Leading the race during the marathon stage, without assistance, Kevin Benavides arrived with a non-repairable front brake issue. He then swapped parts with Nacho Cornejo – who has lost any chance of winning the Junior category. Then, in the last of the Mongolian stages, Benavides got lost in many or the parallel tracks and finished at the foot of the podium in fourth place. Joan Barreda finished the rally in ninth position after falling heavily in the Mandalgovi stage.

It was a good result for the Hero team, however. Oriol Mena won his first stage in a FIM World Championship rally and finished sixth, while Paulo Gonçalves was only 17th after being forced to change an engine.

“It was a good Silk Way Rally for Luciano Benavides as well with the honour of being top Junior. The young Argentinian had been second for a while and then made some mistakes – including the loss of his time card – which relegated him to fifth place. “It was a crazy race,” he explained. “Like a Dakar and I loved it!”

Laia Sanz (KTM) ©RallyZone

Laia Sanz (KTM) ©RallyZone

“It was a beautiful race also for Laia Sanz, who finished first in the Women’s category and took seventh overall. “I had very good stages in Mongolia,” she said. “In China, it was harder but I’m happy with my race. It was a long, beautiful and very hard race of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship!”

In the Quad category, Rafal Sonik managed his race very well and finished more than 1hr 30min ahead of Aleksandr Maksimov (Yamaha), while Lindner (Can Am) fell very heavily in the penultimate stage.
“The scenery was beautiful,” said Sonik. “I loved the forests of Siberia, maybe because I spend a lot of time in the desert. Here in China, some places look like Argentina or Morocco. I often complain about the road book but I admit that this time it was almost perfect!”

The Silk Way Rally ended on Tuesday night with a beautiful party, where Russians, Mongolians, Chinese and all the other nationalities were present to celebrate the sport, friendship and the fraternity that characterise cross-country rallies.

The next round of the FIM Cross-Country Rally Championship will take place in September with the Atacama Rally in Chile.

General Moto Ranking
1. Sunderland (KTM) 26hrs 12min 47sec
2. Short (Husqvarna) @ 20min 22sec
3. Van Beveren (Yamaha) @ 21min 01sec
4. Benavides K. (Honda) @ 21min 37sec
5. Benavides L. (KTM) @ 36min 50sec

General Quad Rankings
1. Sonik (Yamaha) 34hrs 18min 54sec
2. Maksimov (Yamaha) @1hr 32min 13sec

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24 minutes ago


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24 minutes ago


Get well soon Dovi !! ... See Less

27 minutes ago


Less than ecstatic after the race 👊

P2 for Marc Márquez on the day but P1 in the championship 💪

#BritishGP 🇬🇧
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Amazing race by amazing pilots.

I love the whole sportsman ships these racers have for each other, 1 of the reasons to love Motogp ❤

The only time he talks about how good points are for the championship is when he loses in a race for 1st place

What a fantastic young man. So sad that some supposed MotoGP fans can't see beyond their hateful bias against him. Ultimately blamed himself for making a mistake on the last corner, acknowledged Rins race craft for remaining in second, and disappointed that Dovi crashed out - what more do you want?

Congrats MM u did very well fighting off Rins but at the end Rins was the winner. Well deserved win. Lets bounce back with the next race. Sad about Dovi hope he is doing ok.

congratulations Alex Rins you made my day

Well done 42 rins ya dancer 😃😃😃💪👍

He seemed ok to me in that interview. Was a great race from start to finish.

One of the best race ever

MM i Love you 💙



Spoilt child. He was at max for too long and wiped out his tyres, whereas Rins never looked anything other than at ease and riding within himself which kept his tyres fresh so he could get drive out of the final corner. Marc shot his tyres hence why he nearly lost it coming through Woodcote and why he had to throttle back and had no traction.

New era god of MotoGP!



Glad to see mm eat some humble pie

Chris Hill

+ 78 campione ✌💪🏁

Bastien Lukasik Maxence Tout Court Bastien Toucour 1.39min " I TRY TO PUSH !!

There are some very bitter Rossi fans on here lol. Shame for Dovi as that's the championship more or less finished for this year.

Il perd le sourire ? 😂

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29 minutes ago


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2 hrs ago


What a dramatic start we saw at Silverstone! 😱

Thankfully, Fabio Quartararo and Andrea Dovizioso were able to walk away from this scary crash! 💥

#BritishGP 🇬🇧
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Hope Dovi will be fine 🤕

That was vicious. No life threatening injuries? Good day. Thank god for quality equipment.

Hope both riders are ok wish them both a speedy recovery

Wishing Dovi a speedy recovery.

Dovi is out of luck this season. So sad to see a competitive rider ruling out of the race.

Absolutely horrific. Was anxious to see if Dovi got up. Thankfully he did. Wishing both riders swift recovery.

I hope Fabio and Dovi are both okay

I was right next to this incident, both Dovi and Fabio were limping as they walked away, hope both are ok, what a fantastic race, Rins and Marc in a dogfight to the end, top day !!

Did anybody know if they have injuries?

Quel dommage pour ces deux superbes pilotes! #20

A very dangerous game yet we love it soooo much. Thanks to all rider who deliver a very competitive race every year. Dovi n Fabio, speed recovery please. I believe anyone who sit on that situation cant avoid hitting the loose bike.

Was scary was right in front of us 😱🏍❤️

Athleticism of MotoGP riders are amazing.. be safe.

Get well soon.. A big thanks to Quart and Dovi, Rossi got the 4th or else he will be 6th 😂

Dovi was lucky to walk away from that .

Hope Dovi is ok and back racing real soon

Dovi lost his memory after the crash.. 😢

I just hope that Dovi is okay that was a terrible thing to watch.

In situations where dovi needs the most points 😱

Never nice to see anyone hit the tarmac that hard. I think it could’ve been a proper scrap at the front if they had both been in the mix

Unlucky that's only an expression thoug ☺ but they're desire a luck to fulfilling their achievement

Why did his bike catch fire, very unusual. Just one of those things.

Any update news from medic about dovi's situation?

The problem started with Rins who had to brake and almost lost The front.

Both walking away? Dovi was on the brancard and in the hospital.

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2 hrs ago


"I've beaten two legends: Rossi in Texas and Marquez today" - Alex Rins

Hear his reaction after his impressive last corner win yesterday! 🏆

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Well done for a well deserved win! But to be a real champion, you Need to be the best more consistently.

Rins, you were great, you got everything out of the bike. in the curves you were flying with Suzuki. You are always in our hearts, great champion.

Spectacular effort, congratulations on an awesome win.

A fantastic demonstration of race craft by Rins. A brilliant race. Congratulations.

You are so beautiful, Amy

Well done mate a great ride.

Congratulations to Rins and Suzuki can’t wait to see the Suzuki boys at Phillip island 🌴

A superb race Alex. Once more, Congratulations. You certainly deserve them. A remarkable finish and fight till the finish line. This is what Moto GP should be all about. Great job 😉

A fantastic rider with an amazing machine!!! Congratulations Álex Rins!!!


Congrats Alex!!

Be great to see suzuki up near the top👍. He's a talented rider.

So, MM can be beaten at his own game. Every dog has its day.

Félicitations. Superbe dépassement dans le finish. Moi j'adore le regarder car il a un style de pilotage assez particulier. Il est très droit sur la moto. On a l'impression qu'il force pas. 😁

Good to see marquez not on the top step this time. Congratulations Rins! Shame for Dovi.

One fact he gracefully accepts there are only two legends on the current grid: "I've beaten two legends: Rossi in Texas and Marquez today"

Credit where it's due, great ride. The Suzuki is where Yamaha should be.


Congratulations Rins👏👏💪

You are amazing and i mean not only as a rider but as a person TODA GAS

Love this guy so honest not like MM93

And the coverage kept showing the yamaha pit why

During the race Rin's was definitely by far the better rider💪🏼+ the bike Suzuki performed well under pressure 🔥..

Yamaha m1, factory team need to replace Rossi, to progress, That's from a top Rossi fan.

Il lui as mis sa dose au Marquez. 2 gp de suite qu'il se fait cramer 😂😂😂 #marqueznecongelepluslecarburant

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15 hrs ago


Which team has impressed you most so far in 2019? ... See Less

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I would say Williams for the most reliability and focused pit crew. They're only left to improve on pace.

I'm a Mercedes fan but have to say McLaren have done an amazing job this year considering their performance over the last few years.

McLaren has impressed the most because last season they where horrible and now they are best of the rest. Also Red Bull and Honda seem to be a nice match, would love to see Max finish what Jos started with Honda. Most disappointing this season are Haas and Renault. Renault because they wanted to close the gap to the top 3, but right now they are 6th. And they are the only unreliable engine in the field right now. Haas is having a horrible season, they seem to be getting worse during the season instead of improving.

Good to see that McLaren is performing well. I'm sure the team's ability to improve will be remarkable with every race from now on.

Must say McLaren, with the team spirit that they have, and results they managed to achieve... Definitely my favourites this season.

Williams have had the worst start to an F1 team in history. And I think with their tiny budget and willpower, the amount they’ve improved is impressive. They’re still far behind but I hope to see them fighting for podiums in 2021

If Bruce was still here he would be proud of his team. Mclaren improved the most.

McLaren. Consistent development and improvement over the season so far. Alfa Romeo has been somewhat of a surprise also.

Being on top is one thing but staying at the top is the art of the game. Kudos to Mercedes for getting it right so far.... #WeMakeItLookEasy

Ferrari have been the most impressive, from being the slowest manufacturer in 2014 to being a reasonable threat and smashing McLaren and Williams comprehensibly. McLaren and Williams should just pack their bags and go home, Ferrari have nailed their coffin shut and it can be considered karma for their various indiscretions in 1990 (senna wiping out prost), 1994, 1997 (Villeneuve incident), 1998, 1999, 2007 (spygate), 2008... The British public couldn't care less about McLaren or Williams they only support whatever "British" team is winning, in this case Mercedes

I’m super impressed with Toro Rosso, hard to believe this is the old Minardi team where both their drivers exceeded all expectations!!

Ferrari fan for life, but McLaren have done an incredible job so far, considering how far back they were

Redbull and Honda engineering. The aerodynamic has been sorted and the engine now also reliable. Watch that space, they could challenge for the title next year!

None the sport is finished and I've followed the sport since the early 80s

Mclaren, they have made a huge turn around this season. With andreas seidl at the helm, the only place they re going is up

Hi F1 and fans .... with all the media attention to the envirement and green thinking etc etc etc. Is there a research or developement posted in any magizine about the developemt of how clean the F1 is today. We all know that all top research of F1 is implemented in the modern cars but i like to read how clean F1 is now in 2019 .. 👍

McLaren (and I'm faraway from being a fan! If there was a person I didn't like in Formula 1, that person was Ron Dennis). Anyway I'm glad to see them finally getting together again and mainly without supposed big shot drivers who can't do nothing but complain! Now they need to find a good engine because with Renault it will be near impossible to go any further...

McLaren is the most impressive.. Mercedes just has luck week after week.. Hoping Ferrari will get their things together for the second half..

Red Bull / HONDA‼️ Young Max may be awesome, but so is the way Red Bull has adapted to Honda’s engine. The last 2 years of griping about the Renault power plant is (almost) justified...

Haas, they have surprised me on how bad they are this year. Compared to last year this year has been terrible. They were fighting Renault for top of the mid pack, this year they are fighting for points at all.

And yet no Ferrari or anyone else 1st with the exception of RB. Hybrid era is killing with the beyond dominance of Merc being so far ahead of everyone else’s pace. Some competition would be nice! Don’t give me that bullshit of everyone should bring it to the table, there’s some crazy advantage behind the scene that you Merc fanboys don’t know about. Yawn.

It would be nice to see Mclaren back up there permanently fighting for the title. Always was a fan

the gap between top three teams and the rest is too much

Quite a gap between 3rd and 4th also between 10th and racing cars.

Williams been sandbagging the first half of the season just to give the others a glimp of hope, beast mode on in second half of the season

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