‘Chucky' had just achieved a first World Rally-Raid Championship event win when he crashed during training back home in May 2023 and broke his femur.
The man himself doubted he would even start this year's Dakar Rally and, even before it was over, was already focusing on fully recovering for a shot at the 2025 crown.
“He's basically had a year out of racing with different injuries which meant that he had lot of time off the bike.
“He's just come back from a really difficult injury with his femur break, so to finish the Dakar after very little preparation shows how strong he is, mentally and physically.”
The same could arguably be said for Sanders' performance a year ago, when he finished seventh despite a bout of suspected food poisoning and riding for much of the event with a thorn stuck in his arm.
He was also underdone then after bungled surgery hamstrung his recovery from another big crash, when he broke a wrist and an elbow during a dark opening liaison in Dakar 2022.
Sanders said at the conclusion of Dakar 2024, “Coming in, I didn't have much preparation at all.
“I broke my femur really badly eight months ago and I only had December on the bike to prepare, so all I could really do was spend as much time on the bike as possible.
“But we were able to get the bike good and here we are at the finish line.
“My last surgery was only three months ago, and the bone still isn't fully healed. I didn't expect to be here back in November so I'm really happy to finish another Dakar.
“It's certainly been a challenge this year and I've missed a lot of racing during the last two years, so my goal now is to stay healthy, then return bigger and better next year.
“I'll be doing everything I can to make that happen.”
Sanders was the sole finisher for GasGas after two-time Dakar champion Sam Sunderland withdrew due to a technical problem during the first week.