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The 2024 Dakar Rally was won and lost on the brutal rocks of Saudi Arabia and here Toby Price tell us what happened behind the scenes.

It’s a tall order to expect Aussie riders to win Dakar. The toughest dirt bike race in the world is a reality that most of us can barely stretch our minds to. Yet somehow, two knockabout blokes from Australia, Toby Price and Daniel Sanders carried the hopes of a nation into the 46th running of the 2024 Dakar back in January.

Toby Price is a two-time winner of the famous race and is perhaps most likely to do well when he is considered far from in-form. Although aging in terms of a world-class dirt bike racer, Price was entering his 10th Dakar and as any wise onlooker would know, you can never count Toby Price out of the game.

On the other end of the scale is Daniel Sanders. The young rally gun with blistering speed has been plagued by injury in recent times. The past two Dakars have seen Sanders front the start line with less than a month’s preparation. The apple farmer’s most recent injury was a badly broken femur and as a result there was less than distant hope for Sanders to reach the podium this year.

The 2024 Dakar was 13-days of racing, almost 8,000km of riding and 4,700km of special stages at race-pace. Price and Sanders are warriors on wheels and daring to start is to be admired. Completing this race should be applauded.


Dakar is a race of attrition as much as a race of strategy. In recent years Toby Price has played it smart and kept his cool in the first half of the two-week race before laying down the hammer at crucial moments which has worked well for the Aussie legend. Price’s 2024 campaign appeared to be running on the same game-plan, however, things didn’t go quite as planned as Toby explains.

“Normally somewhere during the race there is a crazy chaotic day that sends us all into a bit of turmoil which is what I kind of wait for. But it never really happened this year so then it was like trying to play a catch-up game and it wasn’t really working. The crazy part to this year was that everyone was on their A-game and really there was not a massive big drama with bikes or other issues. We had that young Schareina Tosha kid crash out on day-one but besides that, there was nothing else”.

“It was just a case of we were all out riding every day. No one crashed. No one did anything silly or made mistakes and no one got lost. It felt like you were beating your head against the wall the whole time and not making any ground anywhere. The Honda boys worked really well together and left us for dead”.

“Sure as hell you have to have a little bit of help from team mates here and there and KTM’s season was a chaotic one and everything seemed to crash down on us in the lead-up to it all. Even though Luciano Benevides won the championship (2023 World Rally Raid Championship), he’s on the Husqvarna brand which is under the KTM group, then Matthias Walkner had his injury, Kevin Benevides had his injuries and dramas, and I had an issue with my shock breaking at the World Championship. All in all, we had a bit of a rough-ish year and in January this year it all came crashing down. Luck just wasn’t on our side”.

“Those Honda boys worked well together and it was perfect how it went for them. Good job to them and they absolutely murdered us. That is just how that race is. Sometimes it works perfectly for one person the whole way through with sunshine and rainbows but this year it seemed to work perfectly for 12 riders and it was impossible to make up ground. It was a wild one”.

“Any day you can ride a motorcycle is a good day. I love riding bikes but this year it seemed like there was a lot more rocks and a lot more stone. We had a pretty hard and rigid bike that doesn’t react too well in the rocks. Out of the whole, 12 to 13 days of the race we only had two days of sand”.

“Normally, we’re always in the sand over there. Every single day we were in volcanic rocks or in boulders. There were also some bits that were wide-open and full-gas like normal but there were a lot of things that can bring you un-stuck but nobody came un-stuck”.

“I can’t see anything that I could have done for a better result. I thought I was in a good position but nothing happened. It was a hard one to gauge but it was still a shitload of fun and some good riding”.

“In previous years the results were like a yo-yo effect. One day you’re 20-minutes down, the next day you’re leading. The day after that you’re three-minutes off the lead. If you stay inside the top-ten and within a 30-minute bracket of the lead, you’re in with a shot coming into the last few days but this year there was no yo-yo effect”.

“That 48-hour Chrono stage, we didn’t really know what to expect. Were the boys going to cook engines or was anything going to break? We didn’t really know what pace to run. But nothing happened, which was weird, I thought that would have been the make-or-break stage”.

“I finished second in that stage and also on the last stage. Normally I try to stay consistent and within reach during the first week but day-one I had a small drama with my gear lever falling off. I was stuck in fourth-gear for about 75km and I lost around 18-minutes fitting a new gear lever. That basically put me in an average spot”.

“Heading into the last stage I was just intent on getting the best result I could. I went full-send to try and at least get fourth overall and get a stage win, but Kevin was on the gas even more. The pace I was running I thought it would be good enough for the stage win but I missed out to Kevin by a minute”.

“Although I didn’t even get a stage win for the whole race, it is what it is and I came home in one piece and didn’t need to book into a hospital to get anything fixed. I’ll have to take that as a win and be happy with that”.

“It’s good to get a fifth place finish but it’s not what I sign up for. My expectation is to go there and win the race and when that doesn’t happen, I feel like I have failed and let myself down and everyone else. Like I said I am happy to come home in one piece but for now I don’t know what the future holds”.

“My contract is up for renewal in March but with KTM choosing not to compete in the world championship do I really have a job there? If we’re not really racing I can’t see the contract being promising on the salary side of things. It’s very surprising that we’re not competing in the world championship and obviously they’re trying to save some dollars and that’s their plan and we’ve just got to see if we can make something work out of it”.

“I’m running pretty thin when it comes to the end of my bike racing time and it would be nice to try and squeeze one more Dakar in but if the contract doesn’t stack up and suit, then I don’t know what the future holds. I might become an editor at ADB or something. You’ll just have to watch out for my spelling and grammar.”