12 minutes in the past | Phrases: Andy Wigan | Photographs: KTM IMAGES
You possibly can’t assist however really feel for Toby Value, whose 2023 rally-racing marketing campaign has been outlined by unhealthy luck and agonisingly close to misses. Again in January, the massive Aussie was disadvantaged of his third Dakar Rally victory after ending runner-up by the smallest margin within the iconic occasion’s historical past to his KTM teammate, Kevin Benavides. Then, to rub salt into his wounds, Value has simply needed to accept second place within the 2023 FIM World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC) by a measly 4 factors – this time to Kevin’s brother, Husky-mounted Luciano Benavides.
Keep in mind additionally that Value was nicely positioned to win his second W2RC title, till an issue along with his shock absorber early in Argentina’s five-day Desafio Ruta 40 rally, and that misfortune turned his 7-point lead into an 8-point deficit heading into the ultimate leg of the W2RC in Morocco.
Value did all he may to claw again the differential to Luciano Benavides within the standings by successful the Rallye Du Maroc by a formidable margin of greater than three minutes, which means Benavides wanted a third-place end or higher to safe the championship. Which, to the Argentinean’s credit score, he managed to do. Value, subsequently, needed to accept second within the championship.
In accordance with Value’s KTM workforce, “2023 has been a 12 months of combined fortunes for Toby, however the two-time Dakar Champion has carried his combat all the best way to the ultimate spherical. Second on the Dakar Rally, lacking out on the win by simply 44 seconds to Pink Bull KTM teammate Kevin Benavides, Value then took the world championship lead with third place on the Abu Dhabi Desert Problem. A fourth place on the Sonora Rally noticed him lengthen that lead earlier than an unlucky technical problem on the Desafio Ruta 40 value him time and his championship benefit.
“Realizing he needed to win on the Rallye du Maroc, Toby gave it every part and got here out on high. Disenchanted to not have taken the title, however pleased along with his performances all year long, Value now appears to be like forward to the 2024 Dakar Rally the place he’ll problem for his third victory on the world’s hardest rally-raid.”
As all the time, Value remained humble and philosophical concerning the title end result. “Yeah, I’m pleased to have received the spherical right here in Morocco. The championship is a tough one to swallow although. We put up a very good combat and did every part we may, however 2023 simply hasn’t been the best season for us. I’m pleased in the truth that I by no means gave up and put in 100% proper to the end. I’ll take a while now to get some relaxation however then we’re quickly looking forward to the Dakar in January. For positive, it’s going to be one other robust one, however I’m feeling good, the bike is nice, and I’ll do my greatest as all the time,” Value went on to say.
Given every part that’s gone down this 12 months, we’re chancing a guess there’ll be an additional dose of motivation for the 36-year-old Value on the 2024 Dakar Rally, which will get underway this coming January.