Toby Price began his Dakar title defence overnight (Australian time) with a steady run finishing 17th in the first stage.
“There were a lot of people right near the track and a bit of wildlife, so I just took it nice and easy and we’re through day one so far,” Price said
“Tomorrow, it just depends on where we are. It’s going to be a bit of a difficult day. We’ve just got to keep our heads switched on and keep on moving through and trying our best so it should be pretty good.”
Toby finished 1m23s behind stage winner Juan Pedrero Garcia who was awarded the stage win after the fastest rider, Xavier De Soultrait, was hit with a 1 minute penalty for speeding in the return leg. It seems it was an intentional “error” for De Soultrait who didn’t want to lead the field out for the beginning of stage 2 today.
Todd Smith was the fastest of the other three Australians finishing the stage in 20th, 2m18s behind. Rodney Faggotter is in 26th place and Mathew Hart finished a respectable 62nd in his first Dakar.
Manuel Lucchese from Italy is currently in 57th place with a time just 5m24s off the pace of the leading rider.
Stage 1 has really been a “shakedown” stage for the competitors, with today’s second stage recognised as the first real test of the event.
Stage 2 takes the competitors from the overnight stop at Risestencia in Argentina through to San Miguel de Tucuman in the northwest of Argentina, a distance of 812km.
SBS begins its daily coverage of the Dakar today from 5.30pm to 6.00pm (check your local TV guides to confirm) and we will bring you as many updates as we can.