Kirsten Landman described the 2023 Dakar Rally as the “toughest race of my life” as she competed solo in the Malle Moto class, but reached the finish without a penalty. She will hope to replicate her success in 2024 when she enters her third Dakar.
“I’m super, super excited to announce that I’m going back to Dakar 2024 and going back for some more torture racing in the Malle Moto class,” said Landman in a social media post on Wednesday. “I just want to thank you all for your support in my past Dakars, and I look forward to sharing Dakar 2024 with you.”
After making her Dakar début in 2020, finishing third among female bike riders, being sidelined by a positive COVID-19 test in 2022, Landman returned for the 2023 edition in Malle Moto. Formally known as Original by Motul, the category is regarded as the toughest as riders are forbidden from having outside support and must service their bikes on their own with limited resources.
The lone woman in Malle Moto, Landman finished twelfth overall in class and forty-eighth in the broader Rally2 category. Her best stage finish among solo riders was eleventh in Stage #5, after which she began experiencing severe fatigue and flu-like symptoms. After the rally, she was diagnosed with pulmonary embolism, forcing her off the bike for three months to rehabilitate.
In April, she was cleared to resume riding and more physical training, culminating in her Dakar 2024 confirmation two months later. A hard enduro rider and mountain biker, her 2024 will also include competing in the Absa Cape Epic in March.
Landman was among three South Africans doing Malle Moto in 2023 alongside winner Charan Moore and Stuart Gregory. Although Moore will also return for 2024, he does not intend to defend his title.