“I feel alive when I'm at the limit”
Two years ago, he showed up on the rally as one of the main attractions. Never indeed had an Indian taken part in the Dakar. Since then Santosh Chunchunguppe Shivashankar has not only finished his first Dakar (at a fine 36th position), he also managed to raise enough awareness back home to seduce the biggest selling motorcycle brand in India. For his third appearance, the rider from Bangalore, known as CS Santosh, will indeed be part of the Hero Motorsports Team, with the first ambition of reaching the finish again, especially after the disappointment of having to quit early last year. In his eternal quest to reach further boundaries and adrenalin, the Indian also opened a new chapter in his sporting career, driving Speed Boats. But the Dakar is the event that really attracts his attention and that of his nation. Add to that the fact that this year CS won't be the only representative from India on the Dakar. He will indeed by joined by another promising rider Aravind Prabhakar on a Sherco.
“Funnily I never watched any motorsports before the age of 16. I have absolutely no motorsports background in my family. I was raised to go to college and probably work in software. Then my dad bought me a bike to go to school and that's when my love of riding really started. Racing probably saved me from getting into trouble. It gave me something to focus on with passion. As a kid, while growing up, I remember being fascinated by adventure, and that fascination continues to this day. Whether it's on my motorcycle or in my everyday life, I'm always trying to address my fears and step outside my comfort zone. I feel alive when I'm at the limit, always looking for the next boundary. Last year on the Dakar, the Suzuki I was riding wasn't ready enough. You can't hope for good things when everything isn't lined up perfectly. Now this 3rd Dakar will be the biggest for me with Hero being involved. It's the best opportunity of my life and brings a lot more media attention. It's also great to have Aravind (Prabhakar) on board. It's a new chapter for Indian sports. Now my goal is to have fun and to make it to the finish. If I do so, it'll probably be with a good result.”