Injured Australian Dakar champion Toby Price has been given medical clearance to fly home from Bolivia.
The news came as officials were forced to cancel tomorrow’s stage due to the extremely wet weather in the region.
It is the second stage of the event to be cancelled after Stage 7 was not run because of pouring rain.
Price broke his left femur in a crash five days ago on this year’s Dakar.
He was transported to hospital in Bolivia where he underwent surgery to insert a rod and screws to help mend the femur which was broken in several places.
The Gold Coast-based offroad champ was treated for seizures which medical specialists believed was due to a blood clot in his lungs.
Price has had numerous visitors while in hospital including his Factory KTM team and fellow competitor Rodney Faggotter, who ironically retired from the event during the same fifth stage of the event.
Price posted the following message on his Facebook.
“I’m really psyched to be cleared to fly home to Australia! I can’t thank everyone enough for the kind words, support and messages while I’ve been here in Bolivia! Huge thank you to Rodney Faggotter for staying with me and helping wherever possible, let’s get out of here! — feeling pumped in Bolivia.”
As Price organises his return to Australia, event officials have been forced to cancel tomorrow’s ‘Super Belen’ stage from Salta to Chilecito. It was to cover a total of 977km, 406km of which was to be against the clock.
The entire region had been in severe drought, but massive rain showers has devastated the area.
A rockslide some 160km from the Salta bivouac has forced the re-routing of some competitors and assistance vehicles.
It would mean that several competitors would not get mechanical assistance ahead of tomorrow’s stage.
This comes off a marathon stage where service was not allowed between the previous two stages.
Organisers decided to ensure all competitors and assistance vehicles reconvene at the Chilecito bivouac, from where it can continue as scheduled.
The Dakar’s resources have also been requested by local authorities to assist the nearby village of Volcan, which had been ravaged by the rainstorm and the resulting mud avalanches.
Dakar’s official statement regarding the stage cancellation:
A massive landslide caused by thunderstorms happened this morning at 10.30am on the road used to join the bivouac, 40 kilometers north of Jujuy, 160kms away from Salta, hitting the village of Volcan. According to the Argentinian civil security, victims are deplored in the population and considerable damage has been observed.
The organisation offered its sanitary facilities to reinforce the local safety support on site.
As the road is cut off, most of the vehicles, competitors, assistance and logistics from the Dakar caravan were diverted on an alternative route through San Antonio de los Cobres, extending the distance of the liaison by about 200 km. They will not be able to reach the Salta bivouac in time to start the race tomorrow.
A number of larger vehicles will not be able to use that road either.
Tomorrow’s day will be devoted to regroup the race caravan in Chilecito to continue the event by giving the start on the 12th of January of stage 10, between CHILECITO and SAN JUAN.