Two very talented South Africans have become the first women from Africa to ever race the Dakar on motorcycles.
Johannesburg, South Africa (20 January 2020) – Hard enduro expert Kirsten Landman officially finished the 2020 Dakar in 55th position, while Taye Perry completed the gruelling race in the 77th position. But both of these talented South Africans have been named as the first women from Africa to ever race and finish the Dakar on motorcycles!
The 42nd edition of the Dakar took competitors over 7800km from the shores of the Red Sea in Jeddah, around the canyons and mountains of the western part of the country, over the dunes of the Empty Quarter and all the way to the Qiddiya Sports and Culture Complex near the capital Riyadh.
Southern Africa had ten competitors who crossed our borders and made their way to the 2020 Dakar in Saudi Arabia, but it was two South African women who have made our country so incredibly proud.
Kirsten Landman is a professional offroad & hard enduro rider from Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. She has been riding since the age of 8 & launched her professional career at the age of 22.
What started as just fun with her family, has now turned into Kirsten making history and a name for herself worldwide in the hard enduro racing scene! Competing in major international events, the talented rider has become the first female to finish races such as Redbull Romaniacs, Redbull Sea to Sky, Redbull Megawatt 111, Redbull Braveman & the Roof of Africa.
Since then, Kirsten has achieved her South African Springbok colours while competing at the top level of her sport all over the world & most times being the only lady to do so.
She survived a life-threatening injury a few years ago where she was catapulted off her bike, ruptured her spleen, and eventually had to learn how to walk again and now Landman has also just become the first African female to complete the Dakar Rally’s motorbike classification.
237 out of the 342 vehicles that started the rally in Jeddah (69.3%) appear in the final general classification: 96 motorbikes, 12 quads, 58 cars, 31 SSVs and 40 trucks. A further 19 vehicles withdrew from the race but reached Qiddiya under Dakar Experience rules.
Many have considered Taye Perry as Southern Africa’s “fastest offroad female”. A competitor at heart, the talented rider has a passion for motorsport and racing and is always looking to better herself as both a competitor and a person.
“I’ve always been a dark horse, the privateer, the wild card who takes the pack by surprise… it’s because I’m rather short and small, which makes me unassuming. That’s until you witness my skill and finesse on a big 450cc motorcycle. I love what I do.”
Before the race, Dakar believed that for many reasons, Perry would be one of the riders to watch in the bike race. Not only is she fun, smiles all the time, not only will she battle it out to become the first African woman to finish the Dakar on a bike, but she’ll also be one of the smallest competitors in the history of the Dakar. But the fact she’s 1m58 certainly isn’t a concern for the South African “warrior” who started riding bikes from the age of 12. Part of the Nomade Racing team, she learnt to adapt to the big KTM 450 rally bike and intends on surprising the world on the paths and in the dunes of Saudi Arabia.
“My dad used to ride bikes before I even existed but then stopped. When I was 12, I asked to have a bike, and so my dad started again, and it would be our weekend outings. I gradually went from 80cc to 125 to 250 and now 450 bikes. It kept getting bigger, and I wanted more. I know I might look a bit awkward on a bike and if I fall, I have to use a lot more energy to get it back up. But I have worked on my own technique.
Of course, I look up to the top guys and Laia Sanz. It was also very interesting to meet Andrea Peterhansel (who rode the Dakar five times on a bike when it was in Africa) during the Morocco Rally.
We can all do it.
I think I had reached a plateau in racing on a national level winning the women’s national championship. My only option was to step outside of my country and race the Dakar. I proved in Morocco that I could compete.
In the future, I want to get into FIM rally racing, and I need to prove myself on the Dakar. I love long distances, that’s where I perform the best. Of course, I want to have fun and struggling is fun.”
Watch the Dakar Portrait of the talented rider: