KTM has done it again. For the 15th-straight year, the Austrian manufacturer has earned the Dakar Rally title.
This year the title went to Toby Price, who set a few records along the way. Price became the first Australian rider to win the Dakar Rally, and also the first rider to win it on his second attempt. During his debut rally (Dakar Rally 2015), Price earned third behind the eventual winner – the now-retired Marc Coma, a five-time Dakar winner.
Price finished the Dakar Rally 2016, which took riders 5,600 miles throughout Argentina and Boliva in 13 stages (only one rest day) in 48 hours, nine minutes and 15 seconds. Finishing second, over 39 minutes behind, was KTM’s Stefan Svitko of Slovakia. Earning the final podium position was Husqvarna’s Pablo Quintanilla of Chile.
“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,” Price says.
“I tackled the race in true Aussie style. 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 savor this victory.”
In a Dakar Rally plagued by thunderstorms that cut a few timed specials short, Price was took the win in stage 2, and remained competitive throughout the race that began in Buenos Aires and finished in Rosario, Argentina. He also won stages 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10.
Red Bull KTM Factory Team Manager Alex Doringer also commented on Price’s performance: “I could see Toby was a top guy with potential and good navigation skills. He did an amazing job and I am very happy for him. When I brought him into the team I was very happy to do something for my old friend Kurt Caselli. He was the one who encouraged me to try to get Toby to the Dakar and today we see the result.”
The Dakar Rally 2016 was very successful for KTM. Five of the top 10, and 12 of the top 20 finishers piloted “Ready to Race” KTM motorcycles.
As for America’s Ricky Brabec, the Team HRC Honda CRF450 Rally pilot finished his debut Dakar Rally in ninth overall. Brabec, 24, completed the feat just five months after a serious accident in the states.
“I’m really excited finishing my first Dakar. I want to come back and do better. I’m excited to be in the team. This is my third rally ever, so that is a huge accomplishment for me. So, finishing in the top ten in my first rally is pretty good and I’m the only rider on the team to get a top 10,” Brabec says.
“So, we’ll see if we can improve and come back next year and do better. Back in June 2015 I had a broken neck and it took a good six month to heal. I was talking to a doctor, eating some special foods and trying to get as much calcium and vitamins as I needed to get back to racing. This is my second race back and the biggest race in the world and I’m happy to have accomplished the goal and get a finish and my medal.”
KTM has now won the Dakar Rally for the past 15 years; the last non-KTM machine to win was a BMW F650RR piloted by France’s Richard Sainct.