The 40th Dakar Rally is over and it proved to be one tough mother. The 9,000km (nearly 5,600 miles) of ever-changing terrain through Peru, Bolivia and Argentina, forced many top riders to drop out, including last year's winner Sam Sunderland.
Matthias Walkner was last year's runner-up, however, he rode a near perfect 2018 Dakar Rally, never seeming to be phased by the difficulty of the stages or the adverse weather conditions,
Walkner's Dakar started with a scare on day one while riding in traffic, but he worked hard to keep his mistakes to a minimum. While that yielded him only one stage win, his consistency paid off and he became the best overall motorcycle rider of the 2018 Dakar.
In a prepared statement, Walkner said, "It has been an amazing Dakar for me. I still can't believe that I managed to do it in the end. The rally has gone really well, even when I didn't quite get the results I was hoping for, I kept my head down and concentrated on the finish, not just each individual stage. Good navigation and staying focused won the rally for me - that and the backing of my team who have been there the whole way with me. It's nice to be able to reward them with this win. After my injury of 2016, to be able to stand here as a Dakar Champion is a dream come true."
We'll no doubt be seeing him again next year.