Toby Price | Dakar 2019 | Profile of a Champion

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.

Dakar Stage KTM Toby Price
The pain was clearly visible throughout Dakar 2019

“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.

Dakar Stage KTM Prep
KTM Techs work on the 450 Rally machines ahead of the penultimate stage of Dakar 2019

“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.

Dakar Rest Toby Price
Toby Price during the rest day midway through Dakar 2019

“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.

Dakar Stage Toby Price Wrist
Toby Price tries to soothe his aching wrist after stage five

“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 .

Dakar Stage Toby Price Mattias Walkner
Toby Price with team-mate and runner-up, Matthias Walkner

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.”

Toby Price KTM RALLY Rally Team Shoot
Toby Price – Image by Sebas Romero

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 fairly quietly spoken while carrying a big stick demeanour, which is almost 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’.

Toby Price
Toby Price – 2003 Australian Junior Motocross Championship

2002 wasn’t his crowning year in Junior Motocross but 2003 would be. Like 2019, he was also coming back from injury, which in that case was 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 which first put 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.

Toby Price finished eighth and snagged a stage podium on debut at his first FIM World Rally Championship event. Pic Ross Briggs
Toby Price finished eighth and snagged a stage podium on debut at his first FIM World Rally Championship event. Pic Ross Briggs

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.

Toby Price confirmed his name in the annals of Australian Motorcycling Off-Road Royalty with a Dakar podium on debut
Toby Price confirmed his name in the annals of Australian Motorcycling Off-Road Royalty with a Dakar podium on debut

KTM signed Toby to replace the retiring Dakar legend Marc Coma for 2016, and was on the way to building his own legend.

Dakar 2016 - Toby Price
Dakar 2016 – Toby Price

The following year, 2016, as a fully fledged member of the KTM Factory Rally squad, Price dominated Dakar.

Dakar 2016 - Toby Price
Dakar 2016 – Toby Price

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.

Toby Price – Dakar 2018

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.

Toby Price surgery
Toby Price had surgery on his broken scaphoid in mid December, only a couple of weeks before Dakar 2019 was set to get underway

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 domination of Dakar. Since the orange machines from Austria captured their first victory in 2001, courtesy of Fabrizio Meoni on a KTM 600, they have remained unbeaten.

Dakar Despres Faria Coma
Marc Coma won from Despres and Rodrigues at Dakar 2011

Cyril Despres and Marco Coma won ten of those Dakars between them, five apiece between the years 2005 and 2015.

Dakar 2016 - Podium
Dakar 2016 – Podium – Toby Price (1st), Stefan Svitko (2nd), Pablo Quintanilla (3rd)

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.

2019 Dakar Rally Results

  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

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 55th position. While Young had some assistance with the back-up from the Polish Duust Rally Team, the Newcastle based rider was going it alone and still managed to complete the Dakar in 67th position.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *