KTM’s Toby Price came out swinging at the Tatts Finke Desert Race in Alice Springs to win the 39th edition of the race.

His win at the Finke – Australia’s biggest off road event – marked his third victory and first since his return from his broken neck that ruled him out in 2013.

“I think it’s going to be really hard to wipe the smile off my face for a while – I’ve put in the work but I was never sure I could come back to this level after my injury, and be able to go flat out the whole way,” told Price.

“It feels great to get that monkey off my back, and I feel like I can put the neck injury in my past and forget about it and go back to doing what I normally do.”

The 2010 and 2012 winner quickly made his intentions clear, topping Saturday’s Prologue times by two seconds before bursting out of the blocks on Sunday to reach Finke in a time of 1:58.43 – two minutes clear of David Walsh.

Price’s KTM teammate Ivan Long was less than a minute further back

Keeping a small margin in hand during Monday’s return 240km return leg, Price conceded just 23 seconds of his lead to ensures the most prestigious prize in desert racing would return to him.

“Two minutes ahead at Finke was a lot better than two behind, but it was no guarantee,” continued Price. “I went quicker in my time on the way back, but I tried not to go overboard through the whoops, and just keep it on two wheels. I could have gone quicker – but I didn’t need to.”

Leaving Finke third this morning, Long had a mighty crack at Walsh’s second position, unleashing a 1:56.48 return leg which would turn out to be the fastest of the day. It unfortunately left him just 11 seconds shy of second, but stretched him more than three minutes clear of fourth.

Four-time Finke champion Ben Grabham battled with an ailing wrist on the return leg, finishing 11th outright and fourth in the 451cc & Above 4-stroke class that was also won by Price.

KTM-mounted Tayla Jones – the first female home by about 50 minutes – was an astonishing fourth in the class in 59th outright.

Tatts Finke Desert Race Provisional Results

1. Toby Price 03:56:29

2. David Walsh   03:58:12

3. Ivan Long 03:58:23

4. Josh Green 04:02:38

5. Daymon Stokie 04:03:37

6. Jack Dooley-McDonnell 04:11:38

7. Todd Smith 04:11:49

8. Michael Walsh 04:12:17

9. Jared Ewin 04:15:38

10. Caleb Auricht 04:16:11

11. Ben Grabham 04:20:45