Meet The Badass Woman Dominating An Epic 6,000-Mile Motorcycle Race

Photo: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images.
More than 500 daring riders are careening through 6,000 miles of South American terrain this week, as part of what's been called the "world's toughest off-road race."

The winner of this year's Dakar Rally, which takes riders on a 14-day odyssey through Argentina and Bolivia, won't be known until this weekend, when riders cross the finish line in the Argentine city of Rosário.
But one of the racers is already dominating the race for a barrier-breaking reason: She's a woman.

Laia Sanz, a Spaniard who finished 16th in last year's race, is the leading female motorcyclist in the 2016 rally. Sanz, riding a custom-made KTM cycle, reached the halfway point this week, and has been tweeting from the event.

The Dakar isn't your traditional sporting competition. The race is considered the world's most dangerous motor sports event — 28 Dakar participants have died since the competition's launch in 1978 as an off-road scramble from Paris to Dakar, the capital of Senegal, with one-day stretches of up to 600 miles. The rally was moved to South America in 2009 for security reasons.

During rest periods, Sanz has shared plenty of tweets with her supporters. She's posted articles about her progress in the race, as well as photos of herself doing press interviews for the event. (She's also used Twitter to express her frustration with conditions; high temperatures and river flooding have been causing slow times and delays.
Sanz, who already won the Women's Trial World Championship, first entered the Dakar in 2011. The barrier-crushing biker is more than the top-ranking female in the race — as of Monday, she ranked in 12th place overall. Sanz is also an inspiration for women in male-dominated fields.

It's clear from Sanz's tweets that she's passionate about motor sports and that she's enjoying the race —no matter where she places.

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