Rookie Toby Price is proving that he has all the right ingredients to be a successful off-road racer, picking up his first victory of the season last weekend in Queensland.
The Australian Off-Road Championship has been going from strength-to-strength in recent years, with factory-supported teams galore and a range of star riders treating the discipline as a profession.
One of the more recent Motocross converts is MSC Kawasaki rider Toby Price, who switched to off-road racing this year and won rounds seven and eight of the series at Warwick in Queensland last weekend.
The result has boosted 22-year-old Price to second in the championship with just two rounds remaining next month, sitting just five points in arrears of multiple-time world champion Stefan Merriman.
Also finishing second in his first attempt at the Australian Four-Day Enduro, Price has been selected for the Australian International Six-Day Enduro team to compete for his country.
MotoOnline.com.au spoke with Price to get the inside line on his switch to off-road competition.
Toby, congratulations on the victory last weekend. How’s it feel to take your first win in the AORC?
Yeah, it’s the best feeling ever – it’s been a long time coming. The bike worked awesome and the whole team help out heaps, so it’s just made my job and life a whole lot easier.
You’re now just five points off of the series lead behind Merriman with two rounds to run. Does that surprise you?
It does a bit, yeah. I knew that I had the speed to run up near the front, but I though Merriman would have got more of a lead by now, but I had some luck in the last two rounds by finishing up the front and him finishing back a bit, so it’s going to make the last two rounds very interesting. It’s going to be a nail-biting experience!
How much does this win make you believe you can go out and win the final round to take the title as a rookie?
My confidence has raised heaps after winning last weekend. I know that my fitness is on track and my speed is all good, so we just need to keep doing everything the same. I need to stay injury-free before the last two rounds and keep my training up, which will hopefully be good enough to go and have a couple of good races at Young – hopefully bringing home the title.
What made you switch to off-road racing? The series is building and it seems like a top decision for you right about now…
It definitely looks like it’s been a good decision at this point in time. I enjoyed Motocross and hopefully next year I can do a few one-off rounds in the Nationals, but the switch to off-road has been really good. The people involved in Enduro racing are really friendly and easy to get along with, so it makes every race a fun weekend.
How much different is it to Motocross? Did you have to change your riding style much, learn the ropes all over again?
My riding style hasn’t really changed much, but it’s just been getting the bike set-up that’s been the main thing. The suspension is a lot softer and there are a few other bits and pieces like the steering stabiliser and that, but apart from those changes it’s pretty much standard and a very competitive bike.
Just to wrap it up, you also finished second in the A4DE this year. How was that experience for you in your first time competing in the event?
It was unreal, actually. It was unfortunate that Merriman was forced out through injury, but Jarrod Bewley rode an awesome race and he deserved the victory, for sure. Hopefully I’ll be back next year and we can go and win the A4DE second time around.
Thanks for your time and we’ll be sure to keep a close eye on the season finale. Good luck!
No worries, thanks. We’ll see what we can do!