Tough day for Australia as Price and Faggotter out
A 90km/h crash while leading the final section of the fourth stage has left Australia’s Dakar hopeful Toby Price with a broken femur and out of the 2017 campaign. The crash came 371km into the 416km timed section which he was convincingly leading and looked set to claim the stage victory.
Heavy rain and foggy conditions made it tough for the riders and it was Price’s Red Bull KTM teammate Matthias Walkner (Austria) who would eventually take the stage victory from HRC duo Joan Barreda (Spain) and Michael Metge (France).
“After 100km, I felt pretty good on the bike, but I didn’t think it was enough for victory,” Walkner said. “It’s not so bad, but the bad thing is that Toby crashed. I hope he is more or less okay.
“I stopped with him and then they showed me that it was over for him. Health is the most important thing and I hope that he’s okay.”
Australian Yamaha rider Rod Faggotter also failed to finish the stage, though it’s still unclear whether it was a crash or a mechanical failure that ousted the Queenslander.
“Can’t update you guys this morning as I have no idea what has happened to him,” read a post on his official Facebook page just before 7am this morning. “His last check in was check point two and since then, nothing. He went into this stage incredibly sore, I will update when I hear. Fingers crossed.”
Aussie KTM rider Todd Smith scored his best ever Dakar stage result finishing the day 13th quickest and moving the 31-year old up to 21st position in the overall standings and currently the highest placed Australian.
Australian privateer rider Matthew Hart (Husqvarna) also rode a solid stage in the tricky conditions to finish 41st fastest, which has moved him up 12 places in the overall standings to 46th.
Price’s DNF means Barreda remains at the top of the overall ladder, ahead of Portugal’s Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) and Walkner.
Price lined up at this year’s rally as the only rider to have previously won Dakar, meaning someone will be celebrating their maiden victory in just over one week’s time.
Walkner (Aut) 1st 3rd
Barreda (Spa) 2nd 1st
Metge (Fra) 3rd 11th
Quintanilla (Por) 6th 2nd
Price (Aus) DNF —
Faggotter (Aus) DNF —
Smith (Aus) 13th 21st
Hart (Aus) 41st 46th