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ADV NewsLaia Sanz: Female Dakar Star Sets Sights on Top 10 Finish

Laia Sanz: Female Dakar Star Sets Sights on Top 10 Finish

 After a strong start, can Laia pull off another top 10 finish in the 2018 Dakar?

Published on 01.08.2018

Despite being one of only three women entered in the 2018 Dakar Rally Moto Class, Laia Sanz is expected to finish in the top echelon overall. The fan favorite from Barcelona, Spain started riding her brother’s motorcycle at age four and was competing by the time she was six. Laia has since become a 13-time Women’s Trial World Champion and 10-time Women’s Trial European Champion in outdoor motorcycle trials. The year 2010 was pivotal for Sanz when she began training with Dakar Legend Jordi Arcarons and also participated in the Women’s Enduro World Championship. The following year she made her Dakar Rally debut and has competed every year since.

Laia Sanz Dakar Rally woman rider Adventure Motorcycle

Laia Sanz Trials Champion
In addition to her Dakar Rally accomplishments, Laia was also World Champion in outdoor motorcycle trials.


With the knowledge that one mistake can lay waste to an entire year of training, Laia Sanz is cautiously optimistic about her 2018 prospects. Her goal is to finish in the top 15 overall but feels she could make the top 10. However, she acknowledges that it will be a difficult task due to the skill of her competitors. She is no stranger to laying it all on the line at Dakar, in fact she has been the fastest woman to finish 7 years in a row. She also holds the prestigious title of completing the rally every year that she has entered. Her best showing to date came in 2015 when she finished 9th overall while racing for Honda (HRC).

Laia Sanz Dakar Rally woman rider Adventure Motorcycle

This year, she is riding the new KTM 450 Rally for the KTM Factory Racing Team and hopes to repeat or improve on her 2015 results. Laia is a big fan of her new bike describing it as: “lighter, easier to ride and safer in the dangerous zones.” She has experience on this same machine from competing in the Atacama and Morocco Rallies last year and it could be the key to her success.

We hope that she can elude any mishaps this year and continue her legacy of dominance. Currently she is in the top 20 and shows no signs of slowing down but as we all know things can change in a heartbeat at Dakar. Do you think she can make it into the top 10 again? We are rooting for her!

Photos Courtesy Laia Sanz

Author: Spencer Hill

“The Gear Dude” has been fueling his motorcycle addiction with adventure since first swinging his leg over a bike in 2010. Whether he’s exploring his own backyard in the Pacific Northwest or crisscrossing the United States, Spencer is always in search of scenic off-road routes, epic camping locations and the best gear possible. He began writing shortly after taking up two-wheel travel to share his experiences and offer insight with his extensive backpacking, camping and overland background.

Author: Spencer Hill

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