Australia’s first-ever Dakar Rally champion Toby Price says he will be putting a word or two in the ears of the race’s organisers to bring the world’s most famous rally Down Under.
Price created history by winning the 2016 Dakar Rally in Argentina and Bolivia in the motorbikes category for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing.
And now he wants to bring the Dakar Rally — long since relocated from its Paris-to-Dakar route amid political turmoil in the area — to the Australian desert.
“I’ve definitely mentioned that to the organisers, we’ve got plenty of room here to host one of these races,” he told ABC Radio.
“You never know, hopefully in the future, if I can get two or three Dakar wins to my name — I’ve got to take each year by each year — but if I can get three or four to my name, maybe I can convince them into it, bring them on here to Australia.
“I know the biggest fear for every competitor is dodging kangaroos. But they’ll see them coming.”
Price said he never really dreamed of taking part in the Dakar Rally until around 2010, when he started racing in the Finke Desert Race in Alice Springs.
“From there, I kind of hoped and wished I’d end up there on that stage,” he said.
“It’s very expensive to do that race, just to put your name on that entry list I think is about $30,000. That’s just to race for 14 days, that’s not covering flights, accommodation, food and fuel and bikes. It’s very expensive and I just hoped that one day it would come along.”
He said it only dawned on him what he was about to achieve very late in the race, just as the finish line loomed into view.
“I think from around one to two kilometres from the finish line I started to break down a little bit,” he said.
“I wasn’t really processing what was about to happen. I knew it was something pretty damn special and I was close to breaking some records.
“I crossed the finish line and I couldn’t quite put it into words. All the hard work and everything we’ve been through, all the pain and the torture, and also the good times as well, it paid off in one good year.
“Hopefully we’ve got a few more of those to come.”
Reported on ABC.net.au by James Maasdorp