Toby Value: The Dakar Podium Machine!

2 hours in the past | Phrases: Andy Wigan | Photographs: Andy Wigan, KTM Photographs, Marcelo Maragni / Purple Bull Content material Pool, Matteo Gebbia/RallyZone 2023

You’ll be able to’t assist really feel for Australia’s Toby Value, who at this 12 months’s Dakar Rally ran second by the smallest margin within the iconic race’s lengthy and illustrious historical past. However then once more, a majority of individuals we’ve spoken to since really feel that Value’s runner-up end in Saudi Arabia this 12 months was tantamount to a win. It was definitely a win for his KTM crew, who grew their tally of Dakar wins to 19. And by being so gracious in ‘defeat’, the 35-year-old Value cemented his legend standing in rally-raid circles. Value’s 2023 outcome additionally means his Dakar podium tally jumps to 6 (that’s two wins, a second, and three thirds) from 9 begins. Wow!

On condition that unbelievable top-three observe file on the world’s hardest off-road race, we couldn’t assist however revisit the backstory of how Value scored his first Dakar trip (and podium) again in 2015, and raise just a few excerpts from the interview we did with KTM’s Rally Staff boss, Alex Doringer, on the time. Doringer, by the way in which, is the person behind the Dakar Rally’s longest win-streak; an Austrian bloke who, out of his personal pocket, funded Australia’s Toby Value in his first Dakar in 2015 after which guided the large Aussie to his exceptional maiden victory only a 12 months later. Right here’s just a few quotes from that fascinating dialog with Doringer


“The primary time I heard about Toby Value was when KTM’s Common Supervisor in Australia, Jeff Leisk, emailed me and requested if KTM’s manufacturing facility crew might assist help Toby at a World Enduro spherical he needed to race in Europe in 2012. I had heard quite a bit about Toby’s expertise, so we have been joyful to accommodate that. And I’ll all the time keep in mind first assembly Toby on the airport in France as a result of it was a really chilly October day, and right here was this huge Australian man in shorts and a T-shirt and only one set of using gear in his gearbag. That left an enduring constructive impression on me, and once I watched Toby trip in particular person, it was clear that he was a really, very proficient rider. I must also point out Ben Grabham, who has been each a teammate and crew supervisor for Toby, and who was very unfortunate to not do higher in his personal two Dakar Rallys (folks overlook that, when Grabbo crashed within the 2014 race, he was in sixth place and never removed from the leaders). Grabbo performed an enormous half within the early improvement of Toby as a rally rider. He let Toby use his personal KTM 450 Rally bike in Australia and taught him quite a bit about navigation and the way he must strategy rally racing.”


“Kurt Caselli was all the time an enormous Toby Value fan. After that 2012 World Enduro in France, I didn’t meet up with Toby once more till the 2014 Six-Day, the place he received the E3 class and ran second Outright, however I all the time stored observe of what he was as much as through on-line movies, and thru Kurt Caselli, who was spearheading KTM’s Baja race program in America and had develop into shut pals with Toby. When Toby crashed earlier than the Baja race in 2013 and broke his neck, I requested Kurt to come back and race the Dakar with us. Kurt was all the time telling me how good Toby was and that, at some point, he ought to obtain the help he deserves. Kurt instructed me that I wanted to discover a method to get Toby to race the Dakar Rally for KTM, and that this huge Australian wouldn’t disappoint me.

“I had a really shut relationship with Kurt, simply as many individuals within the KTM household did. Kurt was a really particular particular person not solely as a rider, but in addition as an all-round good man. And when he handed away after crashing on the 2013 Baja 1000, it was a really troublesome time. After the funeral, I keep in mind saying to my girlfriend that I’d promised Kurt I’d assist Toby race the Dakar Rally. And that’s precisely what occurred in 2015, when Toby got here third on debut.”


“I felt I had a dedication to honour my promise to my good pal, Kurt Caselli. I additionally had an excellent feeling about Toby’s skill to do properly at Dakar. I knew that Toby would match into the Dakar surroundings properly, simply as Kurt had. Sadly, each my grandparents handed away within the area of a 12 months in 2014, however with the assistance of the cash I obtained from them, I rented a motorcycle from KTM and made positive KTM’s satellite tv for pc crew had a spot for Toby, together with a motorhome, a superb mechanic and anything he wanted. All up, I feel it price me round 70,000 Euro [$108,000 AUD].

“My goal for Toby at that 2015 Dakar was to present him the chance to study and present his potential. Ending on the rostrum undoubtedly confirmed his potential. However for any newcomer to win a stage on the Dakar, that basically demonstrates their skill. And each Toby and Kurt managed to do this of their first Dakar. That first 12 months with Toby, the purpose was to maintain him calm; to make him perceive he didn’t must race one hundred pc every day, and to take issues step-by-step. Toby was very good. He spoke quite a bit with Marc Coma that 12 months and discovered about what it takes to do properly on the Dakar Rally. So, in the long run, what I did labored for KTM and for Toby, who received a full manufacturing facility deal for the next 12 months.”

Marc Coma celebrates his win on the end line of Rally Dakar 2015 in Baradero, Argentina.


“I had been near Marc Coma for a few years, and I used to be conscious that he felt he didn’t have something extra to show within the sport. He had not been speaking about retirement, however I assumed he might need one other 12 months in him. However no, he ended up retiring after successful the 2015 Dakar. Earlier than Marc’s retirement, there was a manufacturing facility trip obtainable for Toby, nevertheless it was with Husqvarna. So, when Marc retired, it freed up the place with KTM, which I used to be happier about.”


“Toby’s efficiency within the 2016 race was very skilled and properly managed. Toby is a man who is aware of how you can work successfully in a crew surroundings. If there’s something that wants enhancing on the bike, he is excellent at speaking that to the crew. Slightly than complaining, it’s a collaborative effort. And he appreciates the small issues. For instance, at some point on the 2016 Dakar, as an alternative of the standard pasta meal, I organised some pizzas and beer for the crew. Only one beer for Toby, nevertheless it was one thing he appreciated another way to most. He sees the crew as a household who works collectively to seek out options. Additionally, in 2016, Toby was in a position to perceive how you can use his unbelievable expertise on the bike. He might perceive the distinction between a stage when he might push and win by one minute, and a stage when he might push and win by 10 minutes. That’s the key for a fantastic Dakar rider, and it’s one thing he discovered very, in a short time.

“Toby’s win that 12 months was so particular for me as a result of I assumed quite a bit about Kurt Caselli and my promise to him that I’d help Toby at Dakar. And right here we have been; we’d carried out it. As a result of Kurt, me and Toby have been all such good pals, it was very, very emotional. I additionally know that Toby thought of Kurt quite a bit through the 2016 race and drew on that when he wanted energy.

“I feel successful the race was troublesome for Toby to get his head round totally due to how a lot journey and media consideration it meant for him. As the primary English-speaking rider in 10 years to win the Dakar – and the primary Australian ever – it was a novel and really particular achievement. That first two months after the race was relentless and nearly killed him, however I feel he dealt with all of it in a really skilled manner.”


“Toby is so steady on the bike as a result of he’s huge and robust and he makes use of his legs and physique weight so successfully. And he sits down in conditions the place different riders could be standing. Once I got here to Australia to look at Toby at Finke Desert Race, I received the chance to review his approach from the helicopter for a very long time. I noticed that, even when he comes right into a nook or tough part too quick, he is ready to drive the rear wheel into the bottom, and that lets it preserve traction and observe straight. At Finke, it was superb to see how proficient he’s on the bike, and it helped me perceive how his approach interprets so properly onto the bigger, heavier Dakar bike. The opposite unbelievable factor about Toby is that he takes care of the machine. He’s very mild on the bike. As an example, we might match a brand new clutch to Marc Coma’s bike after on daily basis of the Dakar. However with Toby, we solely changed it as soon as in 2016. And that was a precaution moderately than as a result of it was worn. Cyril Despres was the one different rider I can recall who’s equally mild on the bike. However from a using model standpoint, Toby is a mixture of Despres and Caselli.

“Navigation can also be a fantastic energy for Toby. There usually are not many riders who perceive the whole image painted by the street e-book and the notes that accompany it. However similar to Despres and Coma, Toby was in a position to visualise what the street e-book was telling him. He discovered this ability faster than any rider I’ve seen prior to now. And since he has a lot expertise on the bike, the whole lot is slowed down. This provides him the time to course of the street e-book and navigate precisely.”