Toby Price: Life in the fast lane

ENDURANCE: Toby Price at Nobbys beach on Thursday. Picture: Simone De PeakWHAT Toby Price craved most at the Dakar Rally was to prove his versatility.
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To show his peers in off-road motorbike riding that he could succeed in world-class rally racing as well as enduro.

It was mission accomplished for the Aberglasslyn star, after his third-placing overall in the iconic Dakar on Sunday.

Not since Andy Haydon came third in his only Dakar in 1998, has an Australian reached the podium in what is considered the world’s most gruelling rally.

The 9000-kilometre race covers Bolivia, Chile and Argentina in some of the world’s toughest desert terrain.

Completing the race is itself a major accomplishment.

In the 36-year history of the race 28 competitors have died.

Price’s KTM Factory stablemate, Spaniard Marc Coma, recorded his fifth Dakar victory on Sunday when the final leg was completed in Baradero, Argentina.

Life for Price has certainly changed. On Tuesday the 27-year-old arrived home to begin trawling through a mass of emails and phone messages from well wishers, media and potential sponsors.

While four straight victories in the Hattah and Finke Desert races, four Australian Off-Road Endurance Championships and a second placing overall in November at the International Six Days Enduro has given Price a high profile within his sport, the Dakar has pushed his name into the mainstream.

On Friday, Price will head to Sydney for a round of television interviews.

“It’s definitely going to boost the profile and I hope it boosts the profile here in Australia for everyone else trying to do a similar thing,” Price told the Newcastle Herald.

“It’s good to see and hopefully it might end up landing me a good team ride overseas doing more rally events.

“I’ll keep my head down and charging forward and hopefully a few more good results will come and someone will eventually stand up and say we’ll give him a go.”

Despite the breakthrough success in the Dakar Rally, Price has no plans to ditch enduro racing.

On February 7, Price will launch into another Australian Enduro-X campaign with round one in Brisbane.

“It definitely puts a lot of strain on the body to be chopping and changing, but at the end of the day I want to be known as a well-rounded off-road rider and someone who can chop and change between things,” he said.

“Maybe not win races all the time, but be at the pointy end of the field putting pressure on the guys.”

Asked if the success at Dakar had proven to his peers and fans that he was a versatile world-class rider, Price said: “It was funny to actually hear when you’re at Dakar everyone was congratulating me on a six-day enduro podium position and saying, ‘Gosh I wish I could have done that’.

“I loved that because getting a six-day win is always hard work. To turn around and get a podium on a rally bike doing navigation, I think someone people have gone, ‘What he’s doing is pretty cool’.

“I can’t take it all for granted as it can be taken away pretty quick.”

The 13 stages of the Dakar Rally test the competitors both physically and mentally.

Surprisingly Price only lost five kilograms, but there were plenty of mentally challenging periods as he crossed the marathon stages in the Atacama Desert.

During those moments Price said the messages from supporters in the Hunter carried him through.

“It really does help a lot,” he said.

“You’re out in the desert for 600 to 700 kilometres a day, which works out to be 10 and 12 hours on the bike and you come down in a bit of a slump and are tired and you use that afternoon to be ready for the next day.

“Those messages definitely get your spirits back up again and makes you excited to do it all again.”

Gerri Wolfe’s hand in caesarean

‘I reached down and grabbed her … it was really cool’ Gerri Wolfe, 41, gave birth to her 10th and 11th children, Matilda and Violet, in a very unusual procedure at John Hunter Hospital. Picture: Simone Harvey Photography/simonesphotography上海龙凤419m.au
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Gerri Wolfe, 41, gave birth to her 10th and 11th children, Matilda and Violet, in a very unusual procedure at John Hunter Hospital. Picture: Simone Harvey Photography/simonesphotography上海龙凤419m.au

Gerri Wolfe, 41, gave birth to her 10th and 11th children, Matilda and Violet, in a very unusual procedure at John Hunter Hospital. Picture: Simone Harvey Photography/simonesphotography上海龙凤419m.au

Gerri Wolfe, 41, gave birth to her 10th and 11th children, Matilda and Violet, in a very unusual procedure at John Hunter Hospital. Picture: Simone Harvey Photography/simonesphotography上海龙凤419m.au

Gerri Wolfe, 41, gave birth to her 10th and 11th children, Matilda and Violet, in a very unusual procedure at John Hunter Hospital. Picture: Simone Harvey Photography/simonesphotography上海龙凤419m.au

Twins Matilda and Violet delivered in a very unusual procedure at John Hunter Hospital. Picture: Simone Harvey Photography/simonesphotography上海龙凤419m.au

TweetFacebookA WOMAN who partly delivered her own twins during a caesarean has encouraged other women to take control of their birthing experience.

Gerri Wolfe gave birth to Matilda and Violet through a “maternal-assisted caesarean” at Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital on December 22.

Ms Wolfe described the moment she blindly reached her hand out to connect with the babies still partially inside her as “awesome”.

“They delivered Matilda up to her shoulders and I reached down and grabbed her,” Ms Wolfe said.

“I couldn’t see anything because I had a big belly in front of me so I was blind and just reaching out … it was really cool.

UNUSUAL: Gerri Wolfe delivers her twins herself via caesarean section at John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle. Pictures: Simone Harvey, simonesphotography上海龙凤419m.au

“With Violet I needed a bit of a helping hand because she was upside down and I only had one hand free.”

Ms Wolfe, who now has 11 children, was driving to Sydney for an evening cricket match with the month-old twins and four of their siblings as she recalled the experience.

After several caesars that were “not good births” the 41-year-old from Umina Beach on the Central Coast was determined to deliver the twins naturally.

But when a complication arose that meant she would have to have a C-section after all Ms Wolfe told the “initially reluctant” obstetrician at the John Hunter about the delivery method she had read about online.

“I thought about what was important to me to make a surgical procedure more like a birth,” Ms Wolfe said. “I told the [obstetrician] if we’re going to do it we need to do it like this.”

Ms Wolfe doesn’t want to glamorise the delivery as a quirky trend, but said information on it should be available for women who wanted more involvement in their births.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists vice-president Steve Robson said in his experience the delivery method was rare.

“It was in the women’s magazines 12 to 13 years ago then went out of vogue,” Mr Robson said. “It never really took off but maybe something like this could lead to a bit of a resurgence.”

COMPLETE: The Wolfe family. Twins Matilda and Violet take Gerri and Robert’s brood to 11.

Mr Robson said introducing an extra pair of arms to the sterile operating space created some logistic complexities but nothing that was insurmountable.

“If someone wanted to do that I’d have no problem providing the operating team were OK with it, and I suspect a lot of obstetricians wouldn’t mind,” Mr Robson said.

A spokesperson for John Hunter Hospital said it was not the first time it had performed this type of delivery.