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.
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.