News 14 Jul 2015

KTM's Leisk hails Price's new factory Dakar deal

National boss proud to see Aussie talent promoted to world stage.

Source: KTM.

Source: KTM.

KTM Australia general manager Jeff Leisk has hailed off-road ace and desert legend Toby Price following the news he has secured a two-year factory rally contract with the Austrian manufacturer.

Price will pay a major role in KTM’s Dakar Rally assault next January after claiming a spectacular third-place finish at his first attempt this year, rewarded with a full factory deal as a result.

He will contest the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship fulltime, with preliminary plans also in place to defend his Finke and Hattah Desert Race titles if the schedule fits.

“It feels really good to see this unfold,” Leisk commented. “Toby is our most popular rider; I think there is no disputing that. These days his results in desert racing are legendary and he shocked everybody with his podium finish in the Dakar.

“It’s just so pleasing and gratifying to see that effort be recognised by the factory and for him to get a ride with the Red Bull KTM Factory Rally Team is an absolute remarkable achievement. We’re are all just so excited for him.”

Leisk said he realised the true potential of Price during the 2010 Finke Desert race on debut with KTM, eventually claiming victory ahead of fellow legendary desert racer and current KTM team manager Ben Grabham.

“The first time we saw him up at Finke, I was down at the second fuel stop on the first day at the 160km mark when both Toby and Ben came into that fuel stop virtually side-by-side and we had to fill them up both at the same time,” Leisk added. “That’s when I suddenly realised that this guy, in his first attempt at Finke, was something special.

“He won that race too and that’s when I first realised that this guy had a bucket-load of ability. He’s just like a big kid at heart, totally unassuming, but, man, when he gets on that bike he does some mind-blowing things.”

Reigning national champion Price is currently leading the 2015 Australian Off-Road Championship, on target for a fifth crown this season riding the KTM Off-Road Racing Team 500 EXC.