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Toby Price leads Dakar Rally after Stage 1 | News

Reigning champion Toby Price has won the opening stage of the 2020 Dakar Rally by a slim margin of five seconds over American Honda rider Ricky Brabec.

The opening day of the 2020 Dakar Rally presented riders with a huge challenge right from the start. Comprising 433 kilometres of liaison and a 319-kilometre timed special, the gruelling route led competitors north from Jeddah along the Red Sea coast to Al Wajh. With a mixture of fast, rocky pistes and soft sand dunes, the first day of racing in Saudi Arabia gave the riders a taste of what is to come in this new chapter of the Dakar.

Carrying the number one plate, reigning champion Price had the advantageous position of being the 23rd rider to enter the day’s stage. The KTM rider immediately pushed hard from the start, posting the second fastest time to the first waypoint. A small issue with his navigation equipment looked set to reduce Toby’s pace with a seized road book making navigation difficult. Thankfully he was able to tag on to the back of teammate Walkner and the pair brought their KTM 450 RALLY machines home safely and in good time, with Price fastest overall.

“I had a really good day today up until about 140 kilometres where my road book started to play up a bit. Something had got in there and jammed the rollers and so I was left without a road book for a while. Luckily, I caught Matthias after he lost a little time and I was able to stay with him towards the finish. My result looks good on paper, but it turned out to be quite a tricky day. I’m also opening the stage tomorrow, so hopefully that’ll go well, too.”

Price finished the stage two minutes five seconds ahead of Brabec but the New South Welshman suffered a two-minute penalty which narrowed his lead to five seconds. Before Price’s penalty was handed down he said, “At the moment it [His result] looks good on paper, but I think we have a bit of a penalty coming. It’s not the greatest start, but it’s still a long rally to go. We’re in good shape, we feel good on the bike and we’re happy.”

Dakar veteran Rod Faggotter finished 19th in Stage 1 but after a five-minute penalty was applied he dropped back to 25th. The privateer Yamaha rider clocked in just over 23 minutes off the pace of countryman Price. On Instagram Rod wrote “Day 1 done! 750klm! And finish 19th. Started as per number in 56th and chased in the dust all day. Made some good passes and enjoyed the track and the racing. Raced all day with madman Yankie @skylerhowes110 – top fun!
Super rugged rock sections today to make a grown man cry – especially on a 30litre fueled rally bike – was very thankful that I chose to fly over and fit my trick @shock_treatment_suspension front suspension.”

Ben Young riding for Duust Rally Team finished 92nd, Trevor Colin Wilson placed 127th and Matthew Tisdall came in 129th.

Provisional Results Stage One – 2020 Dakar Rally
1. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 3:19:33
2. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 3:21:38 +2:05
3. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 3:22:13 +2:40
4. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 3:24:04 +4:31
5. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 3:24:48 +5:15

Full Results Click HERE