2019 Dakar Winner
Dakar 2019 Stage Ten
Pisco > Lima – 359 km Jan 17th
Toby Price had been nursing his recently pinned broken wrist throughout Dakar 2019, but the 31-year-old had saved his best for last in order to decimate the competition on the final run home to the chequered flag in the Peruvian capital of Lima overnight to claim his second Dakar crown.
“It feels amazing to stand here knowing I have won the Dakar, I don’t think it has really sunk in yet. I thought at the beginning of the event I would be lucky to even make the rest day. Pretty much all I can say that it feels like there are about five people driving a knife in my wrist now. It’s not very comfortable, it’s not very enjoyable, but at the end of the day the victory has been paid off. I’ll forget about the pain now, that’s for sure. The win takes away all the pain. For sure, if it was not for this, it would not have been as sweet, but at the end of the day I was just happy to make the finishing line.
“My Red Bull KTM bike has been amazing, I want to say a big thank you to my mechanic for that. The whole crew here do an amazing job – without them I would be no one.
“The team put in so much work on the lead up to the event and when we get here it’s down to me out there on the track so it feels amazing to be able to reward them all with this result and keep KTM’s winning streak going.
“It was so tight going into the stage this morning, both Pablo and I knew we would have to push right from the start. Unfortunately for him, he went too hard off a dune but he really deserves a win too – everyone that starts this race deserves a win.
“There are so many guys that can win this race and we had strong competitors like Pablo and RickyBrabec , 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 finish the line and it’s been a hard rally. I just do not like giving up, I do not like quitting, that’s for sure. That’s about it. I love being 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 .
The plan now is to go home and relax for a little while, I know I need to have my wrist seen to, so I’ll get that sorted and then it won’t be long before we start it all over again.”
Who is Toby Price?
To win one Dakar is a life changing experience, winning two confirms legend status.
The injuries Toby has battled back from over the years have been themselves almost life altering. His speak softly while carrying a big stick demeanour, which is borderline self-deprecating at times, has served him well as he has overcome some very large obstacles put in his way.
Right back from his junior motocross days he displayed the tenacity that has helped him to get where he is today.
The first time I interviewed a then 14-year-old Toby Price it was 2002. Back then he told me his dislikes were ‘flat tyres and dirty bikes’, and his ambition was ‘To be world number one’.
Well this year he won Dakar for the second time, and for the first time was also crowned #1 in the Cross Country Rally World Championship. Job Done.
2002 wasn’t his crowning year in Junior Motocross but 2003 would be. Like 2019, he was also coming back from injury, but back in 2003 it was coming back from two broken wrists. Nonetheless he went on to win both major categories at the 2003 Australian Junior Motocross Championships, the 15 years 125cc category, and the 13-16 years 250cc four-stroke class.
More injuries plaged his successive years and perhaps it was that, and the fact that his frame meant he was never going to be a 65kg supercross racer, which first sent him on the path of competing in the bush rather than on the motocross track. At 22 he went on to win the AORC in 2009 ahead of Stefan Merriam, and also starred at the ISDE in Portugal that year.
The next year he won the AORC once again, while also winning both the Finke and Hattah Desert Races at his first attempt.
More AORC, Finke and Hattah success came in the years that followed, along with more than a few injuries. The big one was when he broke his neck which required extensive surgery to repair and kept him off the bike for the most of 2013.
The next year he would test his mettle on the International Rally circuit, racing to an eighth place in Morocco. That year he also won the E3 category at the ISDE and the Red Bull Day In The Dirt.
2015 was Toby’s first crack at the Dakar. A stage win on the way to a podium on his first attempt set the scene for what was to come.
KTM signed Toby to replace the retiring Dakar legend Marc Coma for 2016, and he was on the way to building his own legend.
The following year, 2016, as a fully fledged member of the KTM Factory Rally squad, Price dominated Dakar.
2017 involved more pain, a broken femur put him out of the Dakar while he was leading. Complications and setbacks delayed his return to motorcycle competition and he was not racing on two wheels again until Dakar 2018. A few navigation errors were very costly to Price’s 2018 Dakar campaign but once again he was on the podium.
In the lead up to Dakar 2019 everything was going to plan. Toby had won the 2018 Cross Country Rally World Championship, was fighting fit and ready to rock Dakar. But then, only a few weeks before Dakar was about to start he broke his scaphoid in a training accident.
Nonetheless Toby rode a smooth and steady Dakar and saved his best for last, his only stage win of Dakar 2019 coming in the tenth and final stage of the Rally.
KTM proves unstoppable
Despite more and more determined challenges from both Yamaha and Honda in recent years, Price has continued the theme of KTM Dakar domination.
Since the orange machines from Austria captured their first victory in 2001, courtesy of Fabrizio Meoni on a KTM 660, they have remained unbeaten.
KTM have scored victories also with the 950 LC8 V-Twin, many victories with the various generations of the big-bore LC4 single, and since the 450cc capacity restrictions came in to help reduce speeds, KTM has also been unbeaten.
Cyril Despres and Marc Coma won ten of those Dakars between them, five apiece between the years 2005 and 2015.
Over the past four years, it is the current main KTM strike force trio that have brought home the silverware for the Mattighofen manufacturer. Price in 2016, Sam Sunderland in 2017, Matthias Walkner in 2018, and now Price again in 2019. That current KTM trio also finished Dakar 2019 in a 1-2-3 podium for KTM, the brands 18th consecutive Dakar victory.
2019 Dakar Rally Results
- Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 33:57:16
- Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 34:06:29 +9:13
- Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 34:10:50 +13:34
- Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 34:18:02 +20:46
- Andrew Short (USA), Husqvarna, 34:41:26 +44:10
The unsung Aussie heros
While Toby Price is the indisputed hero of Dakar 2019, there were also a couple of Aussies competing in the shadow of the KTM Factory Rally star. 47-year-old Ben Young completed the Dakar in 51st position. While Young had some assistance with the back-up from the Polish Duust Rally Team, Newcastle based rider James Ferguson was going it alone and still managed to complete the Dakar in 67th position.