‘It wasn’t an easy decision. I’m disappointed that I’m not competing in Dakar but also relieved because it’s the right decision for me at the right time,’ said South Africa’s professional off-road and hard enduro rider, Kirsten Landman, on missing the 2024 Dakar Rally.
FILE: South African rider Kirsten Landman. Picture: kirstlandman/Instagram
JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s professional off-road and hard enduro rider, Kirsten Landman, has withdrawn from the 2024 Dakar Rally to focus on her mental and physical health.
“It wasn’t an easy decision. I’m disappointed that I’m not competing in Dakar but also relieved because it’s the right decision for me at the right time. I can feel my body needs this rest mentally and physically. And you know, sitting on the sidelines also makes me hungry to focus on recovering and coming back even stronger,” said Landman in a statement.
Landman rode hard for South Africa, as one of the bikers who took part in the world’s most gruelling race – the 2023 Dakar Rally.
The race took place over the course of 15 days in the Saudi Arabian desert.
The professional off-road and hard enduro rider from KwaZulu-Natal competed in the Original by Motul, also known as the Malle Moto category as the only woman rider, and with no assistance.
In a previous interview with Eyewitness News, Landman said the Dakar experience was tough, and a “complete emotional rollercoaster.”
The athlete will focus on ensuring that she is in peak physical and mental fitness for her Dakar 2025 campaign.
“Mental health directly impacts your physical health and that has a knock-on effect. I’ve had a challenging couple of years personally, with not only the challenges of being a professional athlete but also the death of my mom and then the pulmonary embolism. I’ve noticed the effect of this on my motivation to train and my performance.”
Landman isn’t going to stop competing – she’ll instead be training for the 2024 Cape Epic and her hard enduro season while ensuring her build-up to Dakar 2025 is pristine.
To close off the year, Landman will compete in the Roof of Africa between 29 November to 2 December.
“While I’ve enjoyed the hard enduro season thus far, I know I could have done better. I’m really excited to be back in Lesotho and pushing hard to see where I can step it up after Sea to Sky.”
Landman, who hopes to see more coverage of women in her sporting code, has become the first woman to finish races such as Redbull Romaniacs, Redbull Sea to Sky, Redbull Megawatt 111, Redbull Braveman, the Roof of Africa, and in 2020, Landman was the first African woman to finish the Dakar Rally.