Australian Toby Price Second on Sixth Dakar Stage

Toby Price. Image: commons.wikimedia.org

The 318 kilometer sixth stage of the Dakar rally in Chile saw competitors crest high mountain ridges, descend winding valleys and open up along endless sandy beach dunes.

Helder Rodriguez won the stage by less than a minute over Novocastrian 27 year-old Toby Price.

Price beat his KTM team mates home, including two-time Dakar winner Marc Coma and overall leader Joan Barreda.

Not since Matt Fish took third place in 2013 has an Australian done so well. And not since Andy Caldecott has a rider done as well on their debut.

Price now climbs into the top five in the overall classification, 33 minutes behind race leader and teammate Barreda.

“I’m stoked to be a the half way mark and get a good result today,: said a clearly euphoric Price. “I caught a bit of dust at first, but then I made my way around some of the guys and was in the clear.

“I almost missed a way point at one stage, but I turned back and got it. After that I kept motoring along and didn’t get lost once. I was pretty surprised.”

Riders receive a ‘roadbook’ with the day’s way stations marked on it. It is very easy to make mistakes; and mistakes can be dangerous and costly.

“I think the navigation is slowly coming,” Price continued. “I think we’re getting the hang of it now. I take my time with it and at the end of the day it’s better because I don’t rush things.”

KTM team manager Alex Doringer is thrilled with Price. He believes his young protégé has the potential and talent to make his mark in off-road motorcycle endurance racing.

Though Price has extensive experience with dirt bike racing he is still a rookie at navigation. But with careful tutelage and teammates like Barreda he is sure to be nursed to the very top of this grueling sport.

Barreda extended his overall lead to 12 minutes over Coma, despite both men losing time because of misdirection on the stage.

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