We have launched a petition to show community support for two-time Dakar Rally champion Toby Price to receive a state or national sportsperson of the year honour and/or The Don award for “inspiring the nation”.
State and national sportsperson of the year awards are made by the Sport Minister while the Sport Australia Hall of Fame is decided by a selection committee.
It’s too late for this year’s sportsperson of the year awards announced on Australia Day (Saturday, January 26, 2019).
However, we have initiated nominations for the state and national awards with the relevant Ministers for next year. Toby was born in NSW and now lives on the Gold Coast, so nominations will be lodged in both states.
A nomination for The Don honour has been lodged and we are told the selection committee will research our nomination.
These nominations will have more impact if our petition garners a lot of support from the community, so make sure you share the link with all your friends!
Results of the petition will be forwarded to the Ministers and Hall of Fame.
Why Toby deserves honour
Australia has a long history of Dakar entries, most notably rookie and privateer Andy Haydon who placed third in 1998, Simon Pavey who competed 10 times and the late Andy Caldecott who competed from 2004 to 2006 when he tragically died during the race.
The Dakar is a gruelling rally that has claimed the lives of 24 competitors since it started in 1978. It is referred to as the toughest motorsport event in the world.
Toby started racing the lethal Dakar in 2015, finishing an astounding third on debut.
The following year he rode for the KTM Factory team and became the first Australian to win the rally.
He broke his leg in 2017 and last year finished third despite not racing for a year due to injury.
Just a month before this year’s Dakar, Toby broke his wrist in training. His second victory while nursing a “burning wrist” is all the more brave and worthy of an honour.
Last year Toby also became the first Australian to win the FIM World Cross Country Championship and scored a record sixth win in Australia’s toughest motorcycle rally, the Finke Desert Race.
In fact, he won that race on debut, a feat he also achieved in the Hattah Dessert Race.
Toby has also won two Australian Junior Motocross Championships and the Australian Off-Road Racing Championship.
Dakar’s most prolific winner, Stéphane Peterhansel, scored his sixth win the year he turned 33. Marc Coma won his fifth Dakar Rally at the age of 39. So Toby, aged 31, still has several years of racing ahead of him and is hopeful of more Dakar wins.
We believe The Don would be a fitting honour for Toby since it is awarded to a sportsperson who inspires the nation.
The award began in 1998 when five-time world GP champion Mick Doohan was a finalist. The Don was shared that year by cricket caption Mark Taylor and athlete Heather Turland.
It will be difficult for Toby to win The Don as no motorsport identity has ever won.
Two-time MotoGP champion Casey Stoner is a three-time nominee and two-time finalist, but never a recipient of The Don. Last year F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo was a finalist on his second nomination, joined by Indy driver Will Power.
Maybe it’s time for a motorcycle racer to win.
The Don is announced each October, so there is plenty of time to impress the selection panel with petition signatures.