Originally Posted by too old
The Dakar is totally different, I accept that, but you won't find a more dedicated or physically prepared rider, he has put in days of long riding on his own and with HRC and has more to come - let's see what happens on the bigger stage of Egypt, but a head and not a heart thought is going to show very soon why he is wearing the colours of HRC and at 23 he has the time and the skill to become an alien himself one day
^^^ Agree 100% with everything you've said. Have heard nothing but praise from EVERYONE I know who has had anything to do with Sam in rally circles (I have - as yet - not had that pleasure). My comments are PURELY from an observers perpective, based on the results and efforts Sam has put in at rallies over the last 18 months.
He has youth, fitness, tons of skill and evidently ambition/drive going for him... so at 23, already having chosen rally as his riding career path, he has time on his side.
But I still stand fast with the analogy; it's one thing to go fast for a stage or a leg or two and Sam's record of injuries/mechanicals aside... In rally you kind of make your own luck. To finish first - first you must finish... and the tried and true formula to achieve that is to get "completed competition miles" under ones belt.
I can go back through the Dakar record books and cite many top line riders who despite being visibly faster than anyone else in the field; never made their mark (on anything other than the ground). Malherbe, Kinigadner & Tianen (all multiple world champions) were soooooo much quicker than anyone on a few stages of the Dakar when they competed, but none managed to finish.
So If I ever had the chance to sit down and have a cuppa with either yourself or mxmum (who obviously have Sam's best at heart, it is clear), my heartfelt advice would be; to wind it off 5%
and get some finishes/results in the immediated future under his belt. With Sam's pedigree of motocross, supercross and desert racing behind him; the fitness, skill and ambition he posses coupled with the investment that HRC have made in him... even if it takes until 2014/15 before the "breakthough" comes... the guy has the potential to put together a "five year winning streak" with the right team behind him, and he wouldn't even be 30 yet!
Oh to be 20 years younger again...