In the Kingdom of Sand
The 3rd “chapter” in the evolution of the Dakar Rally will begin this Sunday, 5th-January, in Saudi Arabia. The Rally, making its debut in “The Kingdom of Sand”, will launch from Jeddah, located on the shores of the Red Sea. It will run for 11 days and will finish in Qiddya, south of the capital Riyadh on the 17th-Jan, covering 7500km of tough terrain, 75% (5600km) of which is over sand!
350 competitors will compete this year in 5 categories: Bike, Quad, Car, Truck and SxS (Side by Side). In the Bike category there will be five Australians among the 147 riders. Two time Dakar Rally winner Toby Price (KTM), Rodney Faggotter (Yamaha), Ben Young, Matthew Tisdall (GDP Group), and Trevor Wilson (Godspeed Racing).
From Paris-Dakar to South America
The Dakar Rally, originally called The Paris-Dakar Rally, is the longest, toughest and most challenging off-road enduro event in the world. It is running since 1978 and most of the events until 2008 started in Paris, France, and ended in Dakar, Senegal.
In 2008, on the 30th anniversary of the event, the Rally was cancelled at the last minute due to Al Qaeda terror threats in Mauritania. As a result the Rally moved to South America the following year and has since been running on different routes in Argentina, Peru and Chile.
Will the KTM Dominance Continue?
KTM have dominated the Rally with a winning streak of 18 consecutive wins since 2001. Last year’s winner, Australian Toby Price, took his second Dakar win on the KTM 450 Rally for the Red Bull KTM Factory Team.
Three champions are in the top three favourites to win this year: Toby Price (Aus), Matthias Walkner (Austria) and Sam Sutherland (UK). All 3 are riding for the Red Bull KTM team, who have high hopes for this year’s event.
The favourite, Toby Price, has suffered a series of injuries in recent years. Being a true champion he managed to win last year’s Dakar Rally with a broken wrist! We wish him the best of luck and an injury-free win!
KTM 450 Rally Replica
The KTM 450 Rally has been developed and designed to win The Dakar. A replica of the superb rally machine is produced by the KTM factory for high-end rally racing. It is almost identical to the rally machine, and according to KTM will give their customers “the opportunity to own and ride a really premium, purpose-developed rally machine with high-quality components and maximum innovation.”
The Replica is an advanced piece of technology, made of the highest-quality components, built for one purpose only: to win Rally racing. In 2019 KTM gave the Replica a major upgrade, which included the same technical innovations as the Dakar bikes. The frame is identical to the Dakar’s, the 450cc engine has a new cylinder head and additional power, it has improved transmission, new bodywork and a new engine management system.
Only 75 units of the 450 Rally Replica have been produced in 2019, all were pre-ordered and sold for approx EUR26,000 (AU$41,000).
We will keep following Toby’s progress through the Dakar Rally and will post updates.