Toby Price Ready To Race 2018 Desafio

1 week ago | Words: Andy Wigan, Ktm | Photos: Rally Zone, Jarrad Duffy
Seriously, can anyone keep up with Toby Price? The man is unstoppable! How so? Well, having run second in the past two rounds of the FIM Cross-Country World Championship (the most recent one, Argentina’s 2018 Desafio Ruta 40, by a meagre 6 seconds after five gruelling days of racing) and elevating himself to second position in the World Championship standings, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Toby Price winged it back to Oz late last week to catch up with friends and family and to take part in the inaugural Day in the Dirt Down Under at QMP in southeast Queensland. Price got straight into the spirit of the event, putting in standout performances both on and off the track.

On the 7.5km Main Track, Dust Hustle TT Track and Friday Night Drags, he wowed crowds aboard his enduro, MX and Rally bikes, and was his usually super-approachable, down-to-earth self for anyone who wanted a chat or autograph. Teamed up with four-time Enduro World Champion, Matt Phillips, Price won the ‘You & a Mate’ class in Saturday’s The Old Switcheroo race, and then – not surprisingly – towelled everyone up in the final 75-minute feature race, the Coup de Grace, to wrap things up on Sunday. All of which you’d think would earn the big Aussie a few days’ R&R, right? Nope. At 8am on Monday morning, Pricey boarded a plane bound for South America, where he’s got a date with Peru’s Desafio Inca Rally that kicks off today. Here’s his team’s insight into the three-day rally in terrain that’ll be used in the 2019 edition of the Dakar Rally…

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s, Matthias Walker and Sam Sunderland, along with factory riders Laia Sanz and Luciano Benavides, have travelled to Peru to contest the 2018 Desafio Inca Rally. The three-day event, although not part of the FIM world championship, offers the riders and team a chance to familiarise themselves with the type of terrain that will be used in next year’s Dakar Rally.

The event runs from September 14 to 16 with each day comprising of two laps of a looped course based near the city of Ica in southern Peru. Friday and Saturday will see competitors race for 350 kilometres each day with Sunday being a shorter 200-kilometre route. With the forthcoming 2019 Dakar Rally held exclusively in Peru, the experience gained from racing the sand dunes of the Desafio Inca will prove extremely valuable. Enjoying great success at the Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina just two weeks previously, Toby Price and Matthias Walkner are keen to carry that positive momentum into Peru. With the rally’s two-lap format offering riders a different style of racing to the regular world championship events, it will test not only their road book and navigation skills but also their ability to accurately read terrain. Sam Sunderland, who was forced to retire from the Atacama Rally due to an injury sustained on stage four, will make his return to competition in Peru.

Team junior Luciano Benavides will be joined by fellow KTM Factory Racing rider Laia Sanz at the event. Laia, contesting her first cross-country rally since the Merzouga Rally in Morocco back in April will reacquaint herself with her KTM 450 RALLY and be aiming to get back up to speed with the navigation required. Although all riders will be glad of a good result at the event, the priority in Peru will be training and bike set-up ahead of the final round of the 2018 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship in Morocco and the 2019 Dakar Rally in January.

Jordi Viladoms – KTM Rally Sport Manager: “With next year’s Dakar held in Peru it was important for us to come to the Desafio Inca with a full team in order to get used to the dunes and to set-up the bike. It’s a slightly different type of race from what we are used to – being only three days it’s more like a Baja-style event, but it should give us some valuable information on the area and terrain. With each day having two loops the first will be with the road book and the second will again be more Baja-style as the riders will know where they are going. Of course, the goal here is not the result, but more the experiences learned from the race. All the main teams are here and I hope everyone has a good, safe rally.”

Stage one of the Desafio Inca starts on Friday 14 September with a 350-kilometre stage one, comprising two loops, held near Ica in Peru.

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