Mike Wiedemann was supposed to run his third Dakar Rally in 2024, but a training accident that resulted in a ruptured Achilles tendon and fractured ankle have forced him to drop those plans. He successfully underwent surgery and hopes to recover for the 2025 edition.
“2023, especially the last few days, were certainly not easy for me,” wrote Wiedemann on Friday. “After my setback at this year’s Dakar, the clear goal was to podium in the marathon classification at the upcoming Dakar in January. My entire life revolved around that one race, every free minute I used to prepare myself as best as possible, and I must say I was probably in the best shape of my life.
“But in a fraction of a second, everything was over… A fall during my Dakar preparation has forced me to my knees. I still had a bit of hope that I could start in two weeks with a few screws in my foot, but due to a more significant foot injury (Achilles tendon rupture, medial malleolus fracture, inner ankle fracture), I will not be able to start at the upcoming Dakar 2024. After a successful surgery, I have to be patient in the coming months. Grateful that I will hopefully be back in the next few months, I look positively into the future and am excited about everything that comes. It is important never to give up, so the Dakar remains my focus and my big goal for 2025!”
Wiedemann was due to compete for the second time in the Original by Motul category; also known as Malle Moto, it is reserved for solo riders without team assistance. He entered the class for 2023 after finishing twenty-sixth in the standard Rally2 category in 2022. Despite a strong start as he won the third stage, his race came undone in bizarre fashion the next day when his fuel cell ruptured, starting a bizarre misadventure that would force him to retire.
The issue caused him to run out of gas until a fellow rider Mathieu Troquier stopped to help. After the fuel provided by Troquier was also exhausted, he encountered RallyGP rider Ross Branch who asked spectators to find more for both of them. Additional mechanical failures forced Wiedemann to disassemble his bike before paying fans to help buy more fuel. While they agreed and supplied what was needed, the bike died for good when water got into the fuel tank.
After Dakar, he focused on amateur and domestic rallies like Tuareg Rallye in Morocco and the Olympic Rally in Greece, both of which he won; he raced the former as a co-driver for Markus Walcher. He also finished third in the German Cross-Country Championship.
If not for the injury, Wiedemann would have been among thirty Malle Moto participants on the 2024 grid.