43 Seconds. 43 agonising seconds is all that separated Toby Price from winning the Dakar 2023 behind Keven Benavides and only 4 points from beating his brother, Luciano Benavides, on the W2RC which came down to mechanic issues.
In the shadow of the two men of the year, the two times winner (in 2016 and 2019) is nevertheless still highly rated in AlUla. “After the Dakar, which was a tough pill to swallow, a mechanical problem took victory out of my hands in the W2RC,” explains the Australian. “But that’s motorsport. That said, I’m confident, I won the Rallye du Maroc and I hope to get things back on track, by changing number 2 to number 1”.
In an interesting twist, worthy of a telenovela, Price will be wearing the same Orange coloured KTM overalls as the older Benavides brother who has not been showing as much consistency due to multiple injuries starting with a femur he fractured several weeks after the 2023 Dakar, a broken wrist after the Sonora Rally and during pre-Dakar training.
Proving the metal of Dakar competitors, Kevin has been watching and analysing the progress of his brother Luciano. “I simply twisted my leg on a bend and I fractured my fibula,” explains the unlucky title holder. “I had to have an operation and it became a different race for me, to be ready for the start of the rally here. I’m in a good physical state in general, my leg isn’t too bad and I’m reassured by the tests we have done with the bike on the shake down. It’s true, it’s not the best way to approach the beginning of the rally, but I’ve had to deal with a lot of adversity in 2023 and each time I’ve learned something new about myself. I’m treating the Dakar as an opportunity to turn the tables. As for Luciano, he took advantage of last year to improve the mental side of his riding, because winning isn’t only about being fast”.