The 43rd Dakar Rally is well underway and the competition couldn’t get any stiffer. Honda snatched lead after Stage 1, but the leaderboard has been a scrabble board since. With Stage 3 in the books, privateer Californian Skyler Howes leads the pack with Honda’s Kevin Benavides and Husqvarna HT DAFY Viltais pilot Xavier De Soultrait close behind. In fourth place, two-time Dakar champion Toby Price continues his charge for another crown.
With the 2021 route favoring navigation and technical riding through the deep sands of Saudi Arabia, Price could use every advantage he can get. That’s where his crew of mechanics come in, helping the Aussie refresh his ride after each grueling stage. As soon as Price crosses the finish line and enters the bivouac, he brings his KTM 450 Rally to the caring hands of Stefan Huber's technical team.
Thankfully, Huber and team gives everyone behind the scenes access to the process of maintaining and prepping a rally raid bike via the Reb Bull Rally YouTube channel. Sure, road and dirt racers are used to changing fluids and checking bike setup after every competition, but none are as relentless and unforgiving as the Dakar. From checking fuel lines to changing brake pads, from adjusting chain tension to tightening spokes, the mechanics make sure that Price’s steed is fit and fresh for the next day’s challenge.
Of course, if the rider runs into more issues in the desert, the crew’s efforts may be more involved. Whether it's bleeding the brakes, replacing the calipers, or re-valving the suspension, the team has the tools to take on the most ravaged rally bikes. Fortunately, Price’s 2021 campaign has been smooth and steady—so far. With Stage 4 action unfolding and eight legs to go, anything can happen in the unpredictable conditions and standings. Regardless or the situation, we’re sure his team will have him “ready to race” by the morning.