Sadly Paulo later died and the eighth stage was cancelled in his honour, leaving less opportunity for Toby to make up time. The 10th stage was also cut short when too many riders crashed.
Toby had said he was “comforted” by the fact that he virtually sacrificed his third rally win by being the first to stop for fallen rider Paulo Goncalves in the seventh stage.
In the wake of these setbacks, Toby’s podium finish is a truly champion effort.
Toby wasn’t the only Aussie who did us proud in the Dakar as both a tough competitor and aa Good Samaritan.
Mr Consistency, Rodney Faggotter (Yamaha, Queensland) finished most stages in the top 20 and recorded career best 13th outright and a sixth in one stage.
Like Toby, on the 10th stage Rodney stopped to help a crashed rider and was given the time back by the officials.
“I had a solid 2 weeks and rode the most ‘in control’ but also at the best I have ever done,” Rodney says.
“The riders in front of me are the best rally riders in the world and most of them full time athletes. I’m pumped to be near and amongst these guys!”
Matt finished in last place at 100th and placed last in 96th!
However, even to finish a gruelling Dakar is a massive feat and to have all four Aussie entrants complete the event is a tribute to their heroics.
About a third of the 158 field did not finish due to crashes or mechanical failures.
Five women made it to the finish of the Dakar led by Laia Sanz in 17th place overall, with Dutchwoman Mirjam Pol, South Africans Kirsten Landman and Taye Perry, and Spaniard Sara García also in the general classification.