Dakar Rally: Australian Toby Price ready to achieve dream of winning motorcycle endurance race

Dakar Rally: Australian Toby Price ready to achieve dream of winning motorcycle endurance race

Dakar Rally: Australian Toby Price ready to achieve dream of winning motorcycle endurance race

Updated 15 January 2016, 17:20 AEDT

Excitement builds in the Hunter Valley, as Australian Toby Price looks poised to win the toughest motorcycle endurance race in the world — the Dakar Rally.

Within 24 hours, Toby Price could fulfil a dream he has had since he was a young boy riding a motorbike around the country tracks of the New South Wales Hunter region.

The 28-year-old from the Maitland suburb of Aberglassyn has a substantial lead and could become the first Australian rider to take out the Dakar Rally, which is widely considered the toughest such endurance race in the world.

"Toby started racing when he was four years old and it's always been his dream to be the best in the world," his father John Price said from his home town of Singleton.

"He's definitely showing he's got the talent to be the best in the world.

"If Toby pulls this off, it will be a fantastic achievement and I hope Australia gets behind him and will be proud of him."

Dedication and deserts

For Price and his family, the high of having the Dakar finish line in his sights is a far cry from the low of April 2013 when it was feared the young rider might never walk again.

He crashed his bike while racing in the United States, but his father said his determined son quickly got back on his bike.

"He had good surgery and within six months he was not racing, but he was riding his bike again after the accident.

"It was just incredible."

While not able to be with him in person, Price's family has metaphorically joined him on the rollercoaster that is the 9,000 kilometre Dakar race, held in South America.

Its harsh environment ranges from deserts with temperatures in the high 40s to mountains with freezing conditions.

"Dakar definitely throws everything at the riders and you can have a really good day one day, and be down in the dumps the next," Mr Price explained.

"It's a credit to the way he's performing and handling it all."

Keeping in touch

Despite the conditions of Dakar, Price has still found time to think of his family.

"I've been fortunate to be able to talk to him on a couple of occasions, just when he's been able to get in range for phone reception," Mr Price said.

"He's feeling good; he's happy with the way everything's going and it was just nice to hear his voice."

Mr Price has been watching his son's progress via a live feed.

"We sit up pretty much all night and make sure he passes each waypoint and feeling great when he gets to the finish line," he said.

Began in country NSW club

Excitement is building at the Cessnock Motorcross Club where the young Price learnt to ride as a preschooler.

"I've watched Toby ride since he was a young junior in motocross," club secretary Alana Hartwig said.

"I watched his first enduro race about five or six years ago."

She said the club had a strong history of riders achieving international and national success and she credited the Hunter with providing the perfect environment for budding champions.

According to Ms Hartwig, a Dakar win for Price would benefit the club and the sport as a whole.

"We've got five areas around Newcastle, probably one of the only areas in the state, where the riders have got so much variety of riding that they can access every weekend," she said.

"It just brings a bit more of a highlight to our sport and hopefully brings the funding we're going to need for it in the future.

"Motorsport is something that doesn't get much promotion — not only in Newcastle but all over the state."

'Good old Newcastle guy'

While Price could be about to make history as the first Australian to win the Dakar, Ms Hartwig described him as a genuine guy.

"He's such a gentleman; he comes up to the track at times and he takes time to walk around and talk to the kids," she said.

Ms Hartwig said he also did a lot of charity work.

"Just before Christmas, he spent a few days down south at a camp for charity work to raise money for cancer to help these families," she said.

"He's just a Hunter bloke; a good old Newcastle guy."

John Price spoke to 1233 ABC Newcastle's Jenny Marchant and Josh Callinan, and Alana Hartwig was interviewed by Jill Emberson.