Toby Price wins sixth Finke Desert Race
North Star Pastoral KTM Desert Racing Team’s Toby Price has claimed a record-breaking sixth-career victory in the Bike category at the 2018 Tatts Finke Desert Race, leading an emphatic 1-2 result for the team ahead of local standout David Walsh.
Price was unstoppable aboard his factory KTM 500EXC-F, topping the Prologue before setting a blazing pace from Alice Springs to Finke and back to register an overall time of 3h55m25.1s, placing him 10m19.7s in front of Walsh following a gruelling 480-kilometre return trip in the relentless Australian outback.
After missing last year’s Finke Desert Race through injury, 30-year-old Price proved the class of the field in 2018, leading the way down with a time of 1h57m45.6s to establish a 4m12.8s advantage overnight. He upped the pace marginally on the run home with a 1h57m39.5s effort to deliver one of his most impressive performances yet and become the winningest rider of all-time in the iconic event.
“At the finish of the Finke Desert Race 2018, I’m really stoked to come away with the Outright win number six to take the record, so it’s been a good time,” said Price. “I can’t thank the KTM team enough, they’ve done a lot of hard work and without them it wouldn’t have been possible. Like I said, I’m just really pumped to get six wins with KTM and they’ve given me so much support every time we’ve been running this race, so it’s cool to top it off for them with another win this year.”
Walsh, 28, was the perfect wingman alongside former Dakar Rally winner Price in this year’s edition, recording the second-fastest time to Finke despite starting out of position 28 following the Prologue and still recovering from a major incident while preparing in the lead-up. He ultimately maintained position two as he took the final chequered flag this afternoon, returning to the rostrum for the first time since 2016 in a heroic ride.
And KTM’s success didn’t end there, with supported riders Jack Simpson and Kent Collins finishing third and fourth respectively, much to the delight of participants taking part in the KTM Australia Adventure Rallye: Outback Run, which culminated in the Northern Territory to show their support of the KTM-mounted racers competing.
In the Truck category – which Price also contested this year as he attempted the ‘Ironman’ double for the second time – Shannon and Ian Rentsch also claimed a history-making sixth Finke title, leading from start to finish on their 16th attempt as a father-son duo. Rentsch never looked like they would lose the lead, but were well aware of a hard-charging Price who was starting just three minutes behind them for the second stage of the race. Unfortunately, Price was forced to retire after suffering a power steering pump failure.
2018 Tatts Finke Desert Race Top 5 Outright
1. Toby Price (KTM) 3h55m25.1s
2. David Walsh (KTM) 4h05m44.8s
3. Jack Simpson (KTM) 4h21m06.4s
4. Kent Collins (KTM) 4h31m01.7s
5. Mark Grove (Honda) 4h37m23.1s