Stage 4: 4th
Leaving and returning to Ha’il, the 574-kilometer stage four of the rally included a 425-kilometer timed special that saw riders navigate their way through 100 kilometers of dunes from the very start.
A maze of sandy tracks followed, leading them back to the bivouac, where accurate navigation was key to securing a solid result.
Putting in another consistent ride on stage four, Price claimed fourth on the day to move himself up the provisional event standings to fifth, less than 10 minutes from the lead after close to 19 hours of racing.
“All in all I had a good day, just keeping it on two wheels and completing each day. The section of dunes at the beginning of the stage today was quite tough to ride through, after all the rain the sand sucks you in a lot more and that makes things even more physical and makes the fuel consumption go up a little, too. At this point in the race my body is feeling good, the bike is feeling really good, so yeah, I’m happy.”
Stage 5: 3rd
Setting off fourth and soon finding himself in a group of four opening the stage, Toby Price delivered a strong performance over the first 180 kilometers that saw him lead the class.
However, with his group failing to initially find a waypoint, all four lost valuable minutes while they retraced their way.
After the refueling, and while in that same group, another competitor crashed in front of Price, unable to avoid the rider’s stricken machine, he also crashed but was thankfully uninjured.
Stopping to assist his rival resulted in several minutes lost – time that was subsequently returned to the Australian on completion of the stage.
“Tough stage today – we got lost early on and spent some minutes getting back on track there. Then, later on in the second half of the stage, Barreda had a big crash and I ended up getting tangled up in that. I was ok, but we stopped for around five minutes there to make sure Joan was ok. All in all, it’s not been a bad stage, I don’t think we lost too much time. I’ll get my shoulder looked at now because I knocked it in the crash, but apart from that, I’m looking forward to the next day.”
Stage 6: 3rd
Following his third-place finish on stage five, Price set about chasing down the two riders ahead of him right from the start of today’s special.
With the times among the front runners proving to be especially close this morning as they navigated their way through the damp dunes of the stage, Price found himself losing a few positions as he focused on his navigation near the front.
After the refueling however, the Australian pushed on and moved back up the leaderboard to ultimately complete the stage in third place.
“That’s another day ticked off – it has certainly been a long one! I had that crash yesterday, so I’ve been a little bit sore on my back and took it a touch easier today. But all in all, everything is going well so far. We’ve got the marathon stage tomorrow, so that is always a big test to look after yourself and the bike. Hopefully it’s not as cold as it has been over the last few days, but we’ll do our best, get through it as always, and keep having fun.”
Overall Standings1. Skyler Howes (USA), Husqvarna, 26:31:52
2. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 26:35:23 +3:31
3. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 26:38:53 +7:01
4. Joan Barreda (ESP), Honda, 26:42:49 +10:57
5. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 26:44:12 +12:20