For the second time in his career, Toby Price is champion of the Dakar Rally. The Australian won the final stage today and captured the bike trophy over main rival Pablo Quintanilla, who suffered a fall in the final stage. Price, who sustained a broken wrist during training in December, fought through pain the entire rally.
The win comes three years after Price won for the first time, in the process becoming the first Australian to win at Dakar.
“It’s very crazy to sit here and say that we won the Dakar rally with no stage victories until today,” Price told Dakar.com. “It’s really crazy. I’m over the moon, I’m so damned stoked. It’s been a long 10 days. Now I’ll just wait and see what damage I've done to my wrist. At the end of the day, the pain and torture has been worth it. I thought I would only be able to do two stages and then pull out and that would have been me done, but the support from everyone back home in Australia and then having some things go my way and a bit of luck, it just worked out in the end. It’s been an unreal rally.
“[On the pain] Pretty much all I can say is that it feels like there are about five people driving a knife in my wrist now,” Price said. “It’s not very comfortable, it’s not very enjoyable, but at the end of the day the victory has paid off. I’ll forget about the pain now, that’s for sure. The win takes away all the pain. For sure, if it wasn’t for this victory it wouldn't have been as sweet, but at the end of the day I was just happy to make the finishing line. I didn’t think I was even going to be able to do that. I’m not the new boss of the rally, that’s for sure. There are so many guys that can win this race and we had strong competitors like Pablo and Ricky Brabec, Sam Sunderland, Matthias Walkner… everyone is strong. You can never count anybody out. Kevin Benavides did a great job and at the end of the day we all fight to the finish line and it’s been a hard rally. I just don’t like giving up, I don’t like quitting, that’s for sure. That’s about it. I love being out on my bike and I love riding and to be here with all the Dakar family and the KTM team it’s amazing. So, yeah, we’re pumped.”
Quintanilla entered the day with a chance for the overall, as he trailed Price by just 1min02sec. He gave it all he had, but a crash in the stage lead to a 22nd place finish and fourth overall.
Reigning Dakar champion Matthias Walkner, Price’s Red Bull KTM teammate, finished second overall. The third member of Red Bull KTM, Sam Sunderland, finished third overall after the dismissal of a penalty issued for missing the start of Stage 8.
It is the 18th consecutive win for KTM at Dakar. The last time a non KTM rider won Dakar was 2000, when Richard Sainct won on a BMW.
It was a successful second trip to Dakar for former factory motocross/supercross rider Andrew Short. Shorty entered Stage 10 in fourth but finished the stage seventh and dropped to fifth overall after the Sunderland penalty was dismissed.
“Ended up 5th overall here at the @dakarrally! Stoked,” Short wrote on Instagram. “This crew behind me are amazing at what they do. So thankful for the opportunity to race the last two Dakar’s with them. Stoked I was much better this year! My heart goes out to my teammate @quintanilla102 who left everything on the table today going for the win. He has a huge heart and I’m thankful for everything he has helped me with. Get better soon Boss! Congrats to the Legend @tobyprice87 He is simply amazing on a dirt bike. This race is special and I hope one day I get the opportunity to do it again! Thank you to everyone on here for the support as well. For ten days you basically check out of society as the race consumes you but I can’t wait to look back at some of the moments.”
1. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 33:57:16
2. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 34:06:29 +9:13
3. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 34:10:50 +13:34
4. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 34:18:02 +20:46
5. Andrew Short (USA), Husqvarna, 34:41:26 +44:10
Main image: Marcin Kin / KTM Images