Toby Price is the King of the Desert on two wheels for the sixth time in nine years after winning the 2018 Tatts Finke Desert Race despite a fall on the way back.
The 2016 Dakar winner was the only rider to complete the 226km journey in less than two hours in each leg, with his return to Alice Springs around six seconds quicker than the departure at 1:57:39.5s.
Price had in fact gone down on the #295 KTM 500 EXC-F around halfway back to the Alice but still took victory by more than 10 minutes over David Walsh.
“2010 was a surprise and who would have thought we’d be here celebrating number six today?” said Price.
“I love coming back to Finke and playing in the red dirt, it’s always a good time.
“We’re pumped to have got another win. David made it pretty hard for us and we definitely had to push on the way home because from where David came from yesterday, I thought he was definitely going to push today.
“We tried to push hard but the track was brutal and we had an off at the 100km mark, which rattled us a little bit and scratched the helmet up. I’ve got a bit of a sore neck, but we’re here, we’re happy and I haven’t got a bad time so I can’t complain.”
Earlier, Price decided to sacrifice any chance of a Finke double in order to maximise his Bikes campaign.
“Unfortunately we blew a power steering pump,” he explained.
“I’m a pretty big guy but it would have wrecked my bike race if I had tried to wheel the truck back, so we had to park the truck on the side of the track and chopper our way back to Finke and set out to try and win for the sixth time out here.”
Alice Springs rider Walsh (#299 KTM 500 EXC-F) was second-fastest on both days.
Jack Simpson (#296 KTM 500 EXC-F) and Kent Collins (#4 KTM 500 EXC-F) made it an all-KTM top four.
Simpson was fourth at the overnight stop but went nearly three-and-a-half minutes faster on the return journey to consolidate third in his first Finke campaign.
Honda’s leading man to Finke, then-third-placed Callum Norton (#X98 Honda CRF450R), failed to finish.
Price’s win adds to those he took in 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2016, before he missed the Bikes last year due to an injury sustained in the preceding Dakar Rally.
Bikes: Final results, 2018 Tatts Finke Desert Race (Top 10)
|Pos||Class||Num||Rider||Bike||Leg 1||Leg 2||Total|
|1||2||295||Toby Price||KTM 500 EXC-F||1:57:45.6||1:57:39.5||3:55:25.1|
|2||2||299||David Walsh||KTM 500 EXC-F||2:01:58.4||2:03:46.3||4:05:44.8|
|3||2||296||Jack Simpson||KTM 500 EXC-F||2:12:22.5||2:08:43.8||4:21:06.4|
|4||2||4||Kent Collins||KTM 500 EXC-F||2:15:56.2||2:15:05.4||4:31:01.7|
|5||4||9||Mark Grove||Honda CRF250R||2:18:41.5||2:18:41.5||4:37:23.1|
|6||2||221||Angus Gelly||KTM 500 EXC-F||2:21:57.7||2:15:48.8||4:37:46.5|
|7||4||499||Caleb Auricht||Honda CRF250||2:21:22.9||2:19:32.1||4:40:55.0|
|8||2||11||Lachlan Summers||KTM 500 EXC-F||2:33:55.3||2:13:59.1||4:47:54.4|
|9||4||494||Jerakye Andrews||Yamaha YZ250F||2:28:49.2||2:20:39.5||4:49:28.8|
|10||5||6||Nathan Trigg||Sherco 450 SEF||2:17:11.0||2:34:27.6||4:51:38.6|