Toby Price has become the first Australian to take out the Dakar Rally after winning the motorcycle division in one of the world’s hardest off-road races.
The 28-year-old hailing from the Hunter Valley region in New South Wales, crossed the finish line of the 180km stage in 1:55:49, winning the bikes section by 39:41 ahead of Slovakian KTM team-mate Stefan Svitko.
Although Price came fourth in the 13th and final stage, his strong performance over the last fortnight through Argentina and Bolivia saw him come first in five stages.
This is the second time that Price — who represents the Red Bull Factory KTM Rally Team — has participated in the race, after finishing third in his debut last year. He is the only person to have the won the race on their second attempt.
“I tackled the race in true Aussie style. I attacked when I had to, when the time was right, and I kept an eye on my bike during the all-important marathon stages,” Price said.
This year’s race took place from January 3-16 starting from Buenos Aires, Argentina, moving through cities such as Salta and San Juan before finally finishing in Rosario, Argentina.
The race is traditionally measured over 13 stages but the first stage of this year’s race was washed out due to thunderstorms that had broken out from Rosario to Villa Carlos Paz.
Meanwhile, French Peugeot driver Stéphane Peterhansel won the race in the car division to secure his 12th title, 6 of which were won on a motorcycle, while Marcos Patronelli from Argentina won his third Dakar title in the quads division.
The gruelling endurance race was first held in 1979 from Paris, France, to Dakar, Senegal, but the race eventually shifted to South America a few years ago following safety and security concerns. It is divided into four different competitive groups: motorbikes, quads, cars and trucks.
— DAKAR RALLY (@dakar) January 16, 2016
— Laia Sanz (@LaiaSanz_) January 16, 2016