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.