Toby Price and Daniel Sanders Explain what draws them back to the World's Toughest Rally

In the same vein as the gruelling and relentless Dakar Rally, where endurance and perseverance are essential to conquer harsh and unpredictable terrains, Australian riders Toby Price and Daniel Sanders exemplify the resilience required to face adversity.

Featured in episodes one and four of ‘In The Dust’, their return to the world’s ultimate rally, despite enduring injuries, prompts an intriguing question about their motivations. What drives these competitors to come back year after year, continually overcoming physical challenges and pushing their limits? Their response in a Q&A format sheds light on this enduring dedication to the sport.

What continuously motivates you to return to this formidable rally each year?

Daniel Sanders: ‘Cause life’s too easy without it, you know? You go through the days, and it’s boring. Unless you’re here, putting yourself through situations that the normal world doesn’t give you, I guess. It’s the ultimate athlete challenge as well. For me, riding a dirt bike, navigating, and going full gas through the desert is just something else. It sounds stupid, but it’s a challenge, and it’s fun. I enjoy it for that reason. When you have some stages like this 6A and 6B [the 48H Chrono Stage], it’s very hard. But once you look back at it, you think, ‘I’ve achieved a lot of hard things in my life, and that’s definitely one of them.’

Toby Price: That’s a pretty good question. Sometimes I ask that myself. I love riding motorcycles. I’ve been racing since I was four years old, and I’ve been riding since I was two-and-a-half, three. It’s the only thing I know. It’s always exciting to be on a bike and riding. I’m very fortunate and lucky to be in the position I’m in. But then it’s also been a lot of hard work, a lot of pain, suffering, and torture. But yeah, all in all, it’s something I love to do, going fast on a bike. So, if we can do that, I’m happy.

Is it true that returning from injuries makes you stronger?

Daniel Sanders: I don’t think so because your body’s not the same. My elbow is not 100% [back to normal] and my legs are not 100%. But after this race, we’re going to try and get back to that as close as possible. And you just got to adjust and work on different techniques if you need to. But it’s okay, I can get back to where I was and become better and stronger.

Toby Price: It moulds you into a certain person. It definitely makes you stronger. To sit there in the middle of the desert in pain and suffering, waiting for some medical help – yeah, you really have to have a strong mind to deal with something like that. So, for sure, it makes you stronger. But it’s not a fun process to be going through. We try and minimise that a little bit now. Hopefully, with age, I get a little bit wiser with things like that and realise, when it’s not my day to push, to be conservative; whereas before you’d just try and run over that boundary and keep going – and that’s when usually the injuries would happen. We’re trying to be consistent through it, trying to keep up with all these young blokes coming through.

Was there ever a moment, after sustaining an injury, when you thought, ‘Okay, my racing days may be over,’ or did you consistently push through it?

Daniel Sanders: Yes, you always have [this thought] after a big crash. I’ve broken a femur now – a really bad break — and the elbow. But no, I’m always looking forward to getting back on the bike and competing again, getting back to the highest level of my career that I want to achieve. For the last two years, I haven’t been there. So I want to work really hard after this Dakar to get back there, ready for next year’s race. I have a lot of training to get back to when I’m home in Australia, and build that form back up to be the top rider I am and that I can be.

Toby Price: Probably in 2013, when I broke my neck, it was probably the closest I’ve got to [to stop racing]. I broke both femurs and my shoulders, and I broke my wrist something like 12 times now. The little [injuries] just give you that little break; they get you back to normality, and make you appreciate the things you get to do. But the broken neck was a bit too close to a life-changing situation. That one took a little while to come back around from. I always had in the back of my mind the idea I wanted to go back to racing again, but I just didn’t know whether it would be possible or not. And when I got the green light to ride a bike again, I tried it out, and I figured out that it was something that I loved and missed doing, and we went with it from there. And here we are today, still racing, so we enjoy it.

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