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  • January 17, 2016
  • Dirck Edge
  • Courtesy of KTM/Eric Vargiolu
  • 26 Comments

KTM’s Toby Price Wins Dakar Rally – First Win for an Australian

The grueling Dakar Rally ended yesterday with Team Red Bull KTM taking the top two spots on the podium. The overall winner was Toby Price. This is the 15th win for KTM, but only the first time an Australian has won Dakar. Here is the press release from Red Bull KTM, which includes the top 10 finishers in the motorcycle category.

Red Bull KTM factory rider Toby Price on Saturday won the 2016 Dakar Rally to give KTM, the Austrian brand its 15th victory in the world’s toughest annual rally raid. Price’s victory was also the first time an Australian rider has taken the title and the first time in the history of the event that a rider had won it on a second attempt. Price raced his first Dakar last year and he took a podium third.

Price, who wrapped up the more than 9,000km ride in 48 hours nine minutes 15 seconds, finished an impressive 39 minutes 41 ahead of second placed KTM rider Stefan Svitko of Slovakia. Pablo Quintanilla of Chile was third overall, his best ever Dakar result.

Speaking after the stage, Price said: “Winning in my second participation is awesome, but being the first Australian to win the Dakar is just insane. I would’ve never imagined this two years ago. Finishing the rally is already a triumph. Winning it is amazing! 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. I also navigated quite well. I hope this is just the start, to win again. It won’t be easy, so I’ve got to savour this victory.”

The Australian was a dominating presence throughout the rally, which this year also had to deal with extreme weather conditions ranging from thunderstorms and flooding to intense temperatures. Aware that he had to prove his third place podium in 2015 was no coincidence, he prepared well and picked up his first stage win in the second stage after the first one was washed out by thunderstorms. He went on to survive the high altitudes of Bolivia, won stages 5-6 and before the rest day in Salta he had moved into second overall. Refreshed and recharged, Price went on to win the eighth and ninth stages to firmly establish himself as the man to beat.

As the rally went into more difficult navigation and at times blistering temperatures, Price continued to manage the final four stages to start the final day with an impressive 37.39 advantage. By the finish he had added another minute and a half to this time advantage.

It was a best ever result for Svitko who raced his first Dakar in 2010 and who was fifth overall last year. He was the stage 10 winner and despite a small setback in the next stage was consistently among the top three all the way to Rosario.

Third placed Quintanilla finally took the third overall after a great rivalry between him and Red Bull KTM’s Dakar rookie Antoine Meo. Right up to stage 12, the third place could have gone to either rider but Meo crashed hard 40km from the end of the penultimate stage. He struggled through to the end of the final stage clearly suffering from the effects of the crash but still managed to finish seventh overall. Meo, a multi enduro world champion, has made a smooth and impressive transition into rally raid and leaves the competition as the stand out rookie and a double stage winner.

KTM factory rider Laia Sanz finished an impressive top 15, thus achieving her pre-rally goal. She also did it after riding the last two stages with a high temperature and a broken collarbone and in doing so underlined her skill and her enormous fighting spirit. Factory teammate Jordi Viladoms laboured during the first week with the effects of a fever and although his health improved in the second half of the rally, he had to settle for overall 17th.

Factory team manager Alex Doringer
said he was happy and proud of all of his team, but also underlined the two weeks of the rally had been very, very tough. He said that the retirement of five-time Dakar winner Marc Coma last summer had in fact opened the door to a new generation and the reward was to be seen on the podium.


Doringer:
“I could see Toby was a top guy with potential and good navigation skills. He did an amazing job and I am very happy for him. When I brought him into the team I was very happy to do something for my old friend Kurt Caselli. He was the one who encouraged me to try to get Toby to the Dakar and today we see the result. I am also very proud of Antoine (Meo). He did so well in his first Dakar and he will be very good in the future. He was incredibly brave to ride to the finish today after he had a very big crash yesterday, but he wanted to be with the team at the end. It has also great to see the team spirit and the friendship that has built up between Toby and Antoine. Even though Toby was heading for the win, today he rode all the way behind Antoine to make sure he was going to make it to the finish.

“Jordi (Viladoms) had a tough two weeks because he was sick almost the whole time and he wasn’t able to get back his strength to have a good result. But he is incredibly important for the team, and especially the way he helps and advises the young guys.  And Laia (Sanz) well, she is unique the way she is able to fight, and we all have a huge respect for her. Everybody likes her and we’re so happy and proud that she is riding with us. It was perhaps not the result she was hoping for, but considering that she had a big crash and was also sick, she did an amazing job. We are also super happy to have one of our customer bikes on the podium and this is what we work for.”

Doringer paid tribute to all of his extended team for their efforts and also thanked the KTM Board members and KTM Motorsports for all the support and encouragement they offered to the factory rally team.

The Dakar Rally 2016 was very successful for KTM. Five of the top 10, and 12 of the top 20 finishers rode the Made in Austria KTM bikes.

Final Overall Results after 13 stages and over 9,000km
1. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 48 hours nine minutes 15 seconds – 15th win for KTM, first victory by an Australian
2. Stefan Svitko (SVK), KTM, + 39 minutes 41 seconds
3. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Husqvarna, + 48.48

4. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, + 45.47
5. Helder Rodrigues (POR), Yamaha, + 55.44
6. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, + 1 hour 46.29
7. Antoine Meo (FRA), KTM, + 1:56.47
8. Gerard Farres (ESP), KTM, + 2:01.00
9. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, +2:11.22

10. Armand Monleon (FRA), KTM + 3:27.49
Other KTM
15. Laia Sanz (ESP), KTM, + 4:33.28

17. Jordi Viladoms (ESP), KTM,  + 4:51.04

Final Stage 13 Results
Villa Carlos Paz – Rosario

Total distance 699km; timed special 180km

1. Quintanilla, 1 hour 51 minutes 27 seconds
2. Benavides, + 1.41
3. Rodrigues, + 2.37
4. Price, + 4.22
5. Svitko, + 6.24


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26 Comments

  1. oz-strom says:

    “with Team Red Bull KTM taking the top two spots on the podium” – actually not correct. Svitko was a privateer entry and did a great job to finish 2nd. But what a demonstration of smart and fast riding by Toby Price.

  2. Norm G. says:

    that dude, looks waaay too rested after 9000 clicks…? I guess redbull DOES give you wings.

  3. Provologna says:

    5600 miles / 48 hours is 116mph average, which seems impossibly fast pace over desert. What am I missing?

    • Hot Dog says:

      Nads as big as his?

    • Aussie M says:

      The distance given is the total travelled for the whole rally including the timed competitive sections, the transport sections, and the cancelled sections. The time given is the combined total of the timed competitive sections. This is an example of poor journalism.

      • Provologna says:

        Thanks. As much as I appreciate you disclosing this article’s glaring omission, I’m proud that I was apparently the only reader who noticed the implausibility of the equation.

        Earth to readers: 5600 miles in a straight line is my beloved birth city of San Francisco to NYC, back to SF, and then to the Nevada/Utah border.

        http://www.distance-cities.com/distance-san-francisco-ca-to-new-york-ny

        Regardless the size of anyone’s “nads” (or complete lack thereof), I’m betting no human being dead or living could have ever traversed 5600 miles over desert land on a two wheel vehicle in 48 hours, even with a two year window to complete the task, much less a one week race.

        In fact, I’ll put up $1000 that no one could traverse any portion of the subject desert track on a motorcycle @ 116mph for even one continuous hour, much less 48 hours in a week. Splice on any mammals nads extant, same result, sorry. I’d go so far to say not even a four wheel vehicle could do it. I’ve gone 116mph (or more) on a motorcycle enough times on pavement to estimate it has never happened on the subject desert track, ever.

        116mph (45% over the national limit) is fast, even on pavement.

        My best estimate is average speed of about 45mph over the subject 48 hours, a far cry from 116mph.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          I suspect the person writing the press release just doesn’t know much about the race (or math) thus the misleading statement. Price averaged 53.4 mph through the special sections. His fastest was Stage 4 averaging 67.7 mph (the “marathon stage” alternating between rocky and sandy terrain) and slowest was Stage 10 at 44.45 mph (dunes). Keep in mind that there also “speed zones” through many of (maybe all?) the stages that have a speed limit enforced for safety reasons that the riders cannot exceed without receiving a penalty, so that drags average speed down a bit though I couldn’t tell you how much.

          The bikes regularly see sustained speeds over 100mph.

          • Provologna says:

            A superb example of a non-pro enthusiast posting more useful information than the public relations basement of a multi-million dollar OEM race program. Bravo!

            I respectfully request one or two concrete examples of velocity and either miles or time, defined by “sustained speeds over 100mph.”

            As readers likely also know, velocity is logarithmic, not linear. The higher the velocity the greater the difference (and wear and danger) for each 1mph increase. IOW, the difference between 110 and 111 mph is greater than the difference between 99 and 100mph. (And the difference is infinitely greater off-road vs. on-road.)

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            “I respectfully request one or two concrete examples of velocity and either miles or time, defined by “sustained speeds over 100mph.””

            Well, with respect, I don’t know where – or if – the GPS data for the riders are made available to the public, so we’ll just have to take their word for it (or not – that’s up to you.) I imagine that stuff is something teams/riders don’t care to share with other competitors. But riders will often refer to terrain conditions that let them keep it pinned to make good time.

            Here are a couple of mentions about speed that came up in a search. You might be able to find something more concrete if you keep looking:

            “On a good, hard-packed surface we’re doing around 185 to 190 kph. It’s the best feeling in the world.” — Toby Price from the article “See Toby Price pick out his racing line for Dakar” on the Redbull website:
            http://www.redbull.com/us/en/motorsports/offroad/stories/1331756022289/toby-price-dakar-rally-ride-world-elements-fourohfour

            “The weight gain is also designed to provide a more comfortable ride at high speed for long periods of time. Dakar bikes don’t need to handle tight corners like motocross bikes do; they’re going 100+ mph for hours, so the ride better be somewhat cozy.” — From the article “Why Dakar Rally Bikes Aren’t Your Average Rides” also on the Redbull website:
            http://www.redbull.com/us/en/motorsports/offroad/stories/1331691466800/making-dakar-rally-motorcycle

          • mickey says:

            BAM!

      • Scott says:

        So reprinting a press release from KTM is “poor journalism”? That’s harsh.

  4. ze says:

    Third consecutive year where the japanese were ahead but the bikes could not do the work and let the victory to ktm. Yamaha-Despres in 2014 and Honda-Barreda in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
    Poor Barreda, Honda is destroying his chances..

    • BergDonk says:

      I think the Hondas were OK, the riders were the problem. Riding too close to the edge and hurting the bikes. TP rode a fantastic race.

  5. Vrooom says:

    Husky did well given they haven’t been much of a threat for quite a while. KTM is still king however, and Price ran a fantastic race.

  6. PatrickD says:

    Some of the footage was superb.
    I’ve seen the emotional toughness, as well as physical and mechanical/technical, and this really ranks as a great motorsports event. timing it at the start of January, when there’s knack-all else on is a masterstroke too(!).

  7. jonnyblaze says:

    Congrats to the rose among thorns;

    15. Laia Sanz (ESP), KTM, + 4:33.28

  8. Montana says:

    Any BMWs entered in this event?

  9. WJF says:

    its no wonder at every harescramble event I go to there is a sea of orange on the grid

    • Scotty says:

      Honda will get there one day, soon.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        You’d think they suffered the same issues enough years now to reevaluate their strategy/platform. Time for someone at HRC to just fall on the sword already and try something different.

    • Dave says:

      It ebbs and flows. KTM has been very motivated in the past decade. I remember when all you’d see was Suzuki at the MX & road tracks because they had far and away the best contingency plan for racers. Had very little to do with who’s bike was the best.

  10. Scotty says:

    Bloody ripper mate!!!!