Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, has done it. Will Smith and Tom Cruise have done it. And now Sam Sunderland has joined that elite group of people who have been to the very tip of Burj Khalifa.
The British motorcycle racer, who is competing in the Dakar Rally 2022, stood on top of the world's tallest building for a new video in association with Dubai Tourism and Red Bull that was released on Friday.
Sunderland, 32, who made history as the first British rider to win the Dakar Rally with KTM in 2017, can be seen in the video racing through Dubai, driving a motorbike through areas that have never been ridden in before.
He rides through new and old Dubai, navigating mountain bike trails of Hatta, over the dunes of Al Faqa desert and hitting fairways in golf courses across the city. He hits the heart-shaped Al Qudra lakes, Souk Madinat Jumeirah, La Mer and The Dubai Mall aquarium, before handing over his bike and heading to the top of Burj Khalifa. The final shot is of Sunderland stood on top of the tip, arms outstretched.
"It was really the scariest thing I've ever done," he says in the nearly seven-minute clip, which also gives viewers a nausea-inducing glimpse of the ground from Sunderland's sky-high perspective.
Sam Sunderland's move to Dubai
Born in the south of England in 1989, Sunderland visited Dubai in 2009. He was recovering from an accident that had left him with two broken legs, but he immediately spotted potential in the UAE and returned permanently soon after.
Within a few months he was racing motocross and endurance raids across the Middle East and won the 2010 UAE National Baja Championship. He made his Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge debut shortly after and entered the Cross Country World Championships, winning three stages and beating out competition from riders of far higher profile, including serial champion Marc Coma.
He won Dakar in 2017, also coming in third in 2019 and 2021. He also took the 2019 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship title.
“I lived in Dubai for just over 10 years, and it’s a place that enabled me to realise my dream of becoming a Dakar competitor," said Sunderland. "Without this experience it’s hard to say whether I would have ever become world champion.
“It means a lot to be able to come back here and be given the opportunity to ride in places no one else has, and to be able to say that I’ve stood right at the top of the tallest building in the world is all a bit surreal. I’d like to thank Red Bull and the city of Dubai for making this once-in-a-life time experience possible."