'In a bad way': Startling truth behind Aussie's Dakar Rally triumph

·4-min read
Toby Price is pictured here with the 2019 Dakar Rally trophy.
Toby Price holds the trophy aloft after claiming his second Dakar Rally title in 2019. Pic: Red Bull content pool

Australian off-road motorcycle legend Toby Price has shed light on one of the gutsiest, most against-the-odds feats in Australian sporting history.

Speaking exclusively to Yahoo Sport Australia for the 'Mind Games' series, Price revealed the stunning truth behind his 2019 Dakar Rally triumph and the injury that threatened to end his career.

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Dakar is regarded as the most gruelling endurance race in motorsport, pushing competitors to the limit of what is achievable on two or four wheels.

The fact that Price was able to win it despite having a broken wrist is as unbelievable as it is brave.

"My wrist was in a bad way, like I literally couldn't even hold a coffee cup," Price recalls.

The 33-year-old admits that he almost pulled the pin on the race, but was determined to compete regardless of his condition.

"You're basically riding at 50 percent because your wrist, which is what turns the the throttle on the right-hand side, is broken and you've got to cover 12,000km and be on a motorcycle for eight to 12 hours a day. I knew there was a big challenge ahead of me."

Price says the decision to compete came amid concerns from his doctor and his own fears that further damage to the wrist could end his career.

"I wasn't too stressed if it (the injury) cut two or three years off (my career) but if it was riding that one and then getting the news that I'd never ride a bike again becausee I've completely destroyed my wrist, then I probably would have held my head down pretty low and been pretty disappointed," he conceded.

A two-time winner of the famous race, Price said the buzz from fans and the adrenaline of the competition helped him block out the considerable pain he was contending with.

"The wrist was starting to get worse, I knew it was never going to improve. Honestly it was like someone was driving a hot knife through my wrist," Price said.

Pictured here, Toby Price wore protection for his broken wrist in the 2019 Dakar Rally.
Toby Price won motorsport's most gruelling endurance race with a broken wrist. Pic: MC News/Getty

Refusing to give up on a dream of adding to his 2016 Dakar title, Price came up with an ingenious ploy that enabled him to see out the arduous race.

Using a "rubber band that holds the battery into the motorcycle," Price was able to wrap it around his throttle to take the strain off his busted wrist.

Victory 'will go down in the history books'

"My strength was gone, I could barely hang on but when the stages started all that went out the window and we just concentrated on what we needed to get done," he added.

Price admitted the pain was so great that he wanted to quit on multiple occasions, only for teammate Sam Sunderland to talk him out of it.

"He talked me back it, he said 'man you've only got a few more days to go, keep charging and you're still in the race'".

"My team and Sam were pretty much just saying to me 'you've got an extremely good chance to win this thing and how can you stop now?'"

Toby Price is seen here high-fiving fans at the 2019 Dakar Rally.
Toby Price celebrates with fans during his 2019 Dakar Rally triumph. Pic: Getty

Miraculously, Price entered the 10th and final stage with a slender one-minute lead over Chile's Pablo Quintanilla, having covered almost 5,200km.

The Aussie's never-say-die victory was all but ensured after Quintanilla crashed off a sand dune and injured his leg - leaving Price to claim his first stage win and second Dakar title in the most extraordinary of circumstances.

"I didn't know what to think, it was just basically a blur. You mind is capable of many great things if you basically just talk yourself out of that pain and that torture in those time that you really need to perform and do well.

"Not too many people have been able to win with an injury like that so it's one that will go down in the history books."

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