The Hunter's Toby Price has maintained second place overall despite riding more than 700km on a rear tyre held together by zip ties on Stage Eight of the 2021 Dakar Rally.
In an amazing display of bush mechanic skills and controlled riding, Price finished the stage one minute and five seconds behind overnight leader Jose Ignacio Cornejo who led by one second going into the stage.
The rear tyre on Price's bike was damaged on the final section of Stage Seven. but as it was part of a two-stage "marathon stage" with Stage Eight he was unable to replace it without incurring a 30 minute penalty which would have effectively ended his push for a third Dakar title.
Price was also carrying stitches in his chin after a crash on Stage Seven which left him with a large cut, a headache but no broken bones.
"It was really tough for me today. I struggled with focusing a lot this morning with the road-book. I was a little bit tired from yesterday's crash," Price said after Stage Eight.
"It was good to make it to the finishing line with me, myself and the bike. I damaged my tire yesterday and of course, not being allowed to change it, I had to repair it as best I could for today and hope it held up.
"I rode a good stage, but all the while I was trying to be as smooth as possible.
When I got to refuel at 229 km I saw I still had a solo zip tie on! The rest had come off but I just tried to keep momentum, not accelerate too hard and ride smart.
"I lost some time but I didn't think I would make it to the finish, let alone second in stage and still be second overall.
"It's good to see the Michelin Motorcycle tyre can get me to the finish line even with a big gash in it.
"The chin's alright, it's just a little bit hard to eat. It's a little bit swollen and I've got a bit of a headache, but it's not too bad - there are no bones broken or anything, I just got some stitches in the cut. It's all good, it's fine."
Ignacio Cornejo now leads by one minute and six seconds from Price, with Price's Red Bull KTM teammate Sam Sutherland third overall a further four minutes and 51 seconds behind after a fourth place on Stage Eight.
The 2020 champion Ricky Brabec finished third on the stage and now sits in sixth, 17 minutes and 42 seconds behind the leader.
Australian Daniel Sanders moved up one spot to eighth on the overall standings, 22 minutes and 40 seconds off the pace after finishing seventh on Stage Seven.
- JI. CORNEJO CHL HONDA 32:00:11 0:00:00
- T. PRICE AUS KTM 32:01:17 0:01:06
- S. SUNDERLAND GBR KTM 32:06:08 0:05:57
- K. BENAVIDES ARG HONDA 32:13:09 0:12:58
- J. BARREDA BORT ESP HONDA 32:16:16 0:16:05
- R. BRABEC USA HONDA 32:17:53 0:17:42
- S. HOWES USA KTM 32:19:31 0:19:20
- D. SANDERS AUS KTM 32:22:51 0:22:40
- L. SANTOLINO ESP SHERCO FACTORY 32:27:10 0:26:59
- L. BENAVIDES ARG HUSQVARNA 32:33:37 0:33:26