They call it the hardest motorcycle race in the world, and for good reason. The 13-day trial that is the Dakar Rally sees competitors racing against each other, racing against the clock, racing against the terrain, the rain, the heat, and even racing against themselves, as they test the limits of their bodies.
It shouldn’t surprise us then to see the number of top-level competitors whose 2016 Dakar Rally ended before the finish line in Rosario, and it also shouldn’t surprise us that even those who finished the race considered today a victory, no matter where they landed on the results sheet.
That being said, no one is celebrating harder than KTM’s Toby Price, who clinched his first Dakar Rally win today, on only his second Dakar participation.
“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,” said Price.
“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.”
Accompanying Price at the podium celebration was fellow KTM rider, Stefan Svitko. The Slovak rider stunned the status quo with his non-factory effort, and rode a smart rally this year. Svitko won Stage 10, and was a Top 5 finished in 9 of the 13 stages in the 2016 Dakar Rally.
Expect to see the three-time European Enduro champion at another Dakar, and if he’s not in factory colors, we don’t know what to tell you.
Rounding out the podium was Pablo Quintanilla, the Husqvarna factory rider overcame the challenges from a bounty of rivals, including Honda’s Kevin Benavides and Yamaha’s Helder Rodrigues.
Other riders of note were the American Ricky Brabec (9th) and the top female contender Laia Sanz (15th). Brabec made a strong rookie debut on the Honda Factory team, while Laia Sanz continued to taunt the boys with her strong results.
Sanz coupled with her crticism that this year’s edition of the Dakar Rally continued to “soften” the course for the competitors, with Stage 1 canceled and many other stages shortened for various reasons.
Top 10 from Stage 13 – Villa Carlos Paz to Rosario – of the 2016 Dakar Rally:
Overall Top 10 of the 2016 Dakar Rally: