Price still reminded of ‘bush mechanic’ Dakar repairs

Toby Price adopted ‘McGyver’ strategy for tyre fix

KTM Factory Racing Team rider Toby Price is hopeful he doesn’t have to endure another series of sketchy “bush mechanic” repairs in the forthcoming Dakar Rally.

There were extraordinary scenes during the 2021 event when Price suffered a severely damaged tyre on Stage 7.

Under the rules and regulations, Price wasn’t permitted to change the tyre. So, he repaired it using duct tape and cable ties.

Price would make it through Stage 8, but the following day suffered a crash on Stage 9 and was ruled out of the competition after suffering a broken collarbone that required surgery.

A year on, Price said he gets reminded of the incident daily.

“At the moment I still get tagged in some crazy dodgy pictures,” said Price in his latest KTM blog.

“I’ve been waiting for a lawsuit on my office desk saying, ‘Hey you fixed it like this and I tried it and it didn’t work’.

“Thing is, when you’re put into a situation where you need to fix something to get going again I’ll try anything, gaffa tape – MacGyver-style, I’ll use sticks, steel rods, whatever is available, you’ve just got to be creative and let the mind run free a bit… mine does that a lot,” he laughed.

“In those situations you need to improvise a fair bit. But yeah, from Dakar last year and the bush mechanic I still get a couple of inboxes per day of people fixing things which is cool and entertaining.”

It wasn’t the only incident on the rally for Price, who helped reinflate a tyre on one of the team’s service trucks.

The technique involves using a flammable liquid that is ignited, causing the tyre to rapidly expand and reseat itself on the rim.

“There was the inflating tyres on a Dakar truck, I was worried about that one – there’s some expensive parts on that truck and if it went wrong it could have been bad,” Price recounted.

“I had done it a few times before back home and it worked, but never tried it on such a big tyre.

“Honestly for the time the tyre was flat, for three hours I had gone riding and when I came back they were still trying to get it inflated.

“Yeah, I said ‘There’s a quick fix! We can explode the tyre onto the rim’.

“The boys didn’t believe me. I started out pretty softly with the fluid and slowly started to build up so it didn’t explode on us.

“I think third try we did it and saved the day. Tyre was pumped up. Done and dusted! Hefty invoice for that one.”

As the 44th edition of the famed off-road endurance rally looms, Price said he’s keen to bounce back from the disappointment of 2021.

“For me winning the Dakar, well it’s a race that everyone prepares for all year,” he explained.

“You basically train and prepare 365 days to get to that point to have that trophy in your hand.

“It takes a lot of work and a lot of sacrifice. This is what we’re working for and with the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team everyone puts everything into this.

“The goal is always to be on the top step at the end of the race.”

Prologue at the Dakar Rally gets underway on January 1.

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