Background 13.jpg
RedBull Training (300a).jpg
2-TVS SriLanka (2a).jpg
3-Raid 2012 (1a).jpg
7-ADDC 2014 (1a).jpg
10-Dakar 2015 (24a).jpg
11-Desert Storm 2015 (20a).jpg
Background 13.jpg

Biography


broken bones, third degree burns, over exertion, over exhaustion, that’s when he realized he wasn’t invincible. then why do it? 

SCROLL DOWN

Biography


broken bones, third degree burns, over exertion, over exhaustion, that’s when he realized he wasn’t invincible. then why do it? 

santoshtraining
 
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.
  TOPGEAR MAN OF THE YEAR  (MOTORSPORT)

TOPGEAR MAN OF THE YEAR (MOTORSPORT)

  FMSCI MOTORSPORT MAN OF THE YEAR

FMSCI MOTORSPORT MAN OF THE YEAR

  SHELL HONOUR ROLL AWARD

SHELL HONOUR ROLL AWARD

RedBull Training (300a).jpg

Milestones


here's a brief look at the scale of his achievements that span over a decade!

Milestones


here's a brief look at the scale of his achievements that span over a decade!

2-TVS SriLanka (2a).jpg

Achiever


being the finest off-road racer in the country, he has a huge fan following and is considered to be the epitome of human endeavor. it's no easy task to achieve what he has achieved when one's from India, a country where off-road motorsports is still a niche sport.

Achiever


being the finest off-road racer in the country, he has a huge fan following and is considered to be the epitome of human endeavor. it's no easy task to achieve what he has achieved when one's from India, a country where off-road motorsports is still a niche sport.

tvssantosh
As far as I’m concerned, a lot of background homework and skills were to be acquired before I could even think of being a part of such a legendary motorsport event like the Dakar. Thus started my career at TVS Racing.

He was a premier rider of the TVS Racing team, having donned the mantle of keeping the adrenaline pumping in the Foreign Open categories for the last nine years. The determination to both, silence his critics and to rise to his true potential is what has led him to not only become the Supercross Champion on the national circuit four times but also win numerous races in the Sri Lankan Championship and Asian Championship.

In 2006, he won the Al-Ain Motocross in Dubai & finished 5th overall in Dubai National championship. Thereafter in 2008, he became the first Indian in the Asian Motocross championship, to have qualified with the fastest time in Moto II in Iran, where he finished fourth, the highest ever by an Indian rider on the international circuit. And in 2010, he was ranked overall 6th in the Asian Motocross Championship.

3-Raid 2012 (1a).jpg

Limitless


having won everything there is to win in India as far as supercross is concerned, he looked at rallying.

Limitless


having won everything there is to win in India as far as supercross is concerned, he looked at rallying.

raid2012santosh
I started with the world’s highest one & having won that in my maiden attempt, I gained some confidence and realized how much the past decade of racing and harnessing my skills helped.

In 2012, he participated in the Raid-de-Himalaya which is the only Indian motorsport event listed on the off-road rallies calendar of FIM (Federation Internationale Motorcyclisme), Geneva, Switzerland. Only 12 international motoring events world-wide are listed in this calendar. He won it in his maiden attempt in record time. It ranks among the top ten toughest motorsport rallies of the world and was a milestone in his racing career.


It was a big reality check. I thought it was all over. I had second thoughts of whether to continue or not.

Subsequently in  2013, he became the first Indian to debut at the World Cross Country Rally Championship but an unfortunate fire accident injured him badly during the 3rd Stage. He was running in the top 10 in his class. With third degree burns, he had a long recovery period that lasted till the end of that year.

7-ADDC 2014 (1a).jpg

Resilient


that didn't make him quit. he returned with an unstoppable grit to conquer the territory he had failed to reach in his previous attempt, one victory at a time!

Resilient


that didn't make him quit. he returned with an unstoppable grit to conquer the territory he had failed to reach in his previous attempt, one victory at a time!

But I love this sport and the motorcycle. It’s the stuff that infuses life in me. How can I even think of leaving it all behind?

He took 2014 by storm and started it off by winning the Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm in India. Again, in his maiden attempt. This was a 2200km long rally spread over six days, making it India’s longest off-road motorsport annual event that traversed through the scorching deserts of Rajasthan.


I kept pushing & by the end of the championship, I surprised myself. I was 9th overall, internationally, and the icing on the cake was that I got an invite to the 2015 Dakar Rally. Dreams do come true.

Having gained some confidence after his recovery, he had the unconquered Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in his sights. He went again and this time, he secured a position in the Top 10.

Focused on completing the World Cross Country Championship, the next step was the Sealine Cross-Country Rally (Qatar). This rally is known for being particularly hard to navigate along with very long stages. But he improved further and placed 8th. Again, being the first Indian to do so. 

Santosh ended the 2014 season with an overall 9th in the championship. This puts him in the Top 10 for the year and it shows his capabilities as a consistent & focused achiever. For someone who had a horrific debut season the previous year, it takes more than courage to achieve this impossible feat.

10-Dakar 2015 (24a).jpg

Stoic


This earned him an invite to participate in the famous Dakar Rally. He would be the first Indian again to participate in such a historic event!

Stoic


This earned him an invite to participate in the famous Dakar Rally. He would be the first Indian again to participate in such a historic event!

An invite to the 2015 Dakar Rally was truly a reward as one can’t really enroll and do the Dakar, one has to be invited as it’s a really lethal event. They want their participants to be highly experienced to even think of taking up a challenge like that.

The Dakar Rally being the world's toughest off-road motorsport event, is very selective about their participants. One has to earn an invite to get an opportunity to take the challenge. CS Santosh became the first Indian to compete in the history of this magnanimous motorsport event. He had to spend 100,000 Euros or about INR 70,00,000 to give India that priceless moment. It isn't like Santosh didn't chase sponsors. At least 15 potential sponsors were apprised of what Santosh was planning to do. Unfortunately, none of them came forward to support him.

But in the process, he inspired a generation of Indian motorcyclists to believe. The Dakar adventure was thanks to his family and with a little help from his friends. The only company that supported Santosh was Red Bull. The company provided on ground support and gave him all that he needed to finish the rally.


Those two weeks at the Dakar are the hardest two weeks of your life physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s a lot of pain and suffering and having to dig deep. But by the end of every day, there is also a small sense of satisfaction that keeps us going.

After somehow making it there with no financial support from the Indian industry, he was very clear about finishing it. He endured a bad shoulder injury during the race and also was bleeding from his nose but he continued on. His left toe got fractured too but he continued despite excruciating pain. He braved rain, sand dunes, extreme weather, multiple cuts and bruises, in some of the most treacherous conditions in the world. Santosh raced across Argentina, Bolivia and Chile for 13 days and for over 9000 km. 

He finished the Dakar at 36th position, with injuries that would have made anyone quit. This was huge for him and this accomplishment garnered the attention of mainstream media, due to the huge following he has in this country. 

11-Desert Storm 2015 (20a).jpg

Determined


He didn't waste any time after getting back home. His preparations for the next one had already started, AND WHAT FOLLOWED WAS ANOTHER MILESTONE IN HIS CAREER.

Determined


He didn't waste any time after getting back home. His preparations for the next one had already started, AND WHAT FOLLOWED WAS ANOTHER MILESTONE IN HIS CAREER.

The prologue kicked off and it was a 5km sprint and we were not even allowed to walk the course. So it was a big challenge to go flat out and minimize the mistakes. I’m so glad I did this race and not let my doubts get the better of me. It was sink or swim and I did just fine.

Looking back at his Dakar experience, he knew a lot of things that he could have done better to be in the Top 10 of the Dakar Rally in the near future. He intended to start improving from day one.

After annihilating the competition at the Desert Storm earlier that year, he spent a long time looking for sponsors for a World Championship Event like the Baja Aragon. The Suzuki Factory Rally Team put him on board for this.

Once there, he realized how long he had been off the bike & it was unsettling for him, to say the least. The Baja Aragon had really rough, fast & rocky tracks. The first 2 stages he did pretty well although everything hurt and he just wanted to quit. But, he fought hard and emerged 13th.


As I stayed back and saw other riders finishing the race, it lit a fire inside me. I have a lot of belief that one day, I’m going to be one of the top guys.

He returned to the Dakar in 2016 with Team Suzuki Rally, Spain & was determined to improve drastically but things didn't really go as per plan.

The WP1 of stage 4 didn't go as planned for him as his navigation tower broke just after WP1, leaving him almost handicapped. The electricals of his Suzuki 450 Rally shot too somewhere during the stage.

After he managed to finish the stage somehow, he was behind the race leader Paulo Goncalves by almost four hours. Now this being a marathon stage, the mechanics weren't around to help which left CS Santosh with no other option but to retire from the 2016 edition of the world's toughest and most challenging rally.


I made it difficult for myself. The time penalty for missing out on the passage control came at the most inopportune moment. However, that’s rallying, anything can happen. I am very pleased with this win and even more with the way the Suzuki RMX450Z Rally performed in these conditions.

Having aced the India Baja the same year, he headed for the Desert Storm again and won that too, for the third time in a row! 

He took command of the rally right from the first leg, and opened up a massive lead of 53 minutes after nine stages. However, on the 10th stage, which was the first of the two night stages, he failed to spot the passage control to get his time card stamped for reasons of bad visibility due to the dust kicked up by the cars ahead of him, and was slapped with a penalty of 60 minutes for the infringement.

Santosh went into the final 2 stages with a hugely motivated charge to finish with an overall lead of 9+ minutes for a total time of 11 hr 19 min 28sec to seal his win.


I am so grateful to be part of this world class factory team with Hero MotoCorp and having Mr. Wolfgang Fischer as my mentor who I consider to be one of the best managers in the world!

Hero MotoCorp Ltd (HMCL), the world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer, has forayed into the world of motorcycle rally racing by forming a strategic partnership with Speedbrain GmbH, the German off-road racing specialist. The newly formed ‘Hero MotoSports Team Rally’ will make its debut at the Merzouga Rally in Morocco in May 2016, a Dakar series race.

The team, comprising of CS Santosh & Joaquim Rodrigues will be riding on the upgraded version of the successful Speedbrain 450 rally bike. The Merzouga Rally will be held from May 21 to 27 2016. The Hero MotoSports Team Rally will also participate in international rallies across the globe, leading up to the Dakar rally 2017.