The 2024 Dakar Rally will take place without Austria’s exceptional motorcyclist Matthias Walkner. The Salzburg man was seriously injured in a training crash in California and, according to KTM and management, will be out indefinitely. According to an initial diagnosis, the 37-year-old suffered multiple, including open, fractures of his tibia, fibula and foot, as well as a complex comminuted fracture of his upper left ankle. A knee injury is also suspected; Walkner has already undergone surgery in Palm Springs.
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“We set off at a moderate pace to inspect our training round. As is so often the case in our sport, the light is very flat, with a little bit of dust thrown up by the drivers in front and poor contrast conditions. I kept a good distance from my colleagues and drove at a fast pace, but not a racing pace. “I overlooked a five meter high demolition edge with a small counter slope on the flat,” explained Walkner.
“The impact was so enormous that I am very happy that I did not suffer a serious back injury. “Unfortunately, the foot injury is serious and I now have to prepare for a very long rehabilitation phase,” emphasized the Austrian from his hospital bed.
The 2018 winner’s tenth Dakar participation will have to wait for now. The legendary rally will be held in Saudi Arabia for the fifth time and will run over 5,000 kilometers in twelve stages from January 5th to 19th.