Winning the gruelling Dakar Rally would make off-road motorcycle racer Toby Price one of Australia's greatest sporting heroes of the year.
Whatever heights our other elite athletes reach, few — if any — are likely to match the feat of taming what is arguably the toughest sports event in the world.
Price was poised to become the first Australian to win the Dakar in only his second attempt, holding a commanding lead as the surviving field headed for the finish in Argentina on Sunday morning AEDT.
Short of a catastrophe, his advantage of 37 minutes 39 seconds going into the final stage was effectively insurmountable.
To claim a famous victory, Price just had to produce another measured ride on his KTM 450 Rally, as he has done in recent days after anchoring his lead by winning five earlier stages.
The significance of his expected success cannot be overestimated and would deserve to be ranked as the highlight of Australian international sporting achievement in 2016. It would only be rivalled, but not overshadowed, by an Australian underdog winning a gold medal at the Rio Olympics or claiming one of the tennis grand slam tournaments.
Even Daniel Ricciardo defying the odds to win the Formula One world championship against Mercedes' likely continued might would not be as momentous as Price conquering the cruel Dakar Rally. They don't come any harder or more dangerous than the Dakar, a two-week torture test through the deserts and mountains of Bolivia and Argentina.
It is rough, tough and unrelenting, especially on a motorcycle, where a race-ending - or, all too commonly, a life-ending - fall awaits around every corner, over every rise and in every hidden ditch or with an unseen rock.
Price, 28, from Singleton in NSW's Hunter Valley, is a two-wheeled iron man whose speed, stamina and focus have made him an immediate master of the Dakar, which is named after the event's original destination in Senegal in north-west Africa.
It began as the Paris-Dakar Rally in December 1978 and raced from various European starting points until 2008, when the race from Lisbon, Portugal to Dakar was cancelled because of terrorist activity in Mauritania.
The event was moved to South America in 2009, were it has been run ever since, while retaining the Dakar name.
After dominating off-road motorcycle racing in Australia, Price contested last year's Dakar as a KTM privateer, astounding in his debut by finishing third and winning a stage.
While that performance was a surprise, his supremacy in this year's motorcycle division - which runs concurrently, but separately, from the car, quad bike and truck classes - is not a shock to his benefactors.
Price's rise to Australian off-road racing stardom and entree to international fame in cross-country motorcycle rallying is thanks to the support of Perth-based former international motocross star Jeff Leisk, who runs KTM Australia.
Leisk, 51, whose local backing brought Price to the attention of the Austrian factory-run Red Bull KTM Rally Team when Spanish legend Marc Coma retired after his fifth Dakar win last year, is not surprised Price is on the verge on conquering the Dakar.
"One thing we've noticed over the last two years is that Toby's matured a lot as a rider," Leisk told Fairfax Media. "He went from a rider that egotistically wanted to demolish the opposition to a rider that now measures his performance and just wants to win by the appropriate margin.
"So it's not completely surprising. His maturity has definitely grown a lot in the last couple of years. It puts him in good stead as a rally rider, that's for sure."
According to Leisk, Price is physically and mentally suited to the extreme demands of the Dakar.
"Really, they just try to break man and machine," he said. "This is what this race is designed to do. This race is all about breaking you and your equipment, so it's all about survival.
"Toby, physically, he's a pretty big guy for this sort of stuff. He stands over six feet tall, he's in excellent condition. We knew pretty early on that we had somebody that had exceptional talent and ability.
"And also he seems to have a knack for this type of high-speed riding. Whereas everyone else seems to be working pretty hard, Toby seems to be able to do it in a fairly relaxed state.
"He's so single-minded in what he does. Nothing really seems to bother the guy too much. He just gets on with the job and I guess that's the perfect demeanour for being a rally rider."
Leisk agreed that winning the Dakar Rally would enshrine Price as Australia's toughest sportsman.
"If you have to rate this event in terms of toughness and what it requires from an individual, from a sporting perspective, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find an event that's more difficult," Leisk said. "It's the Tour de France of motorcycle racing in terms of its toughness.
"Absolutely, if he can bring this thing home, I really hope he gets all the credit that he actually does deserve."
Price is an off-road motorcycle racing warrior, coming back from a broken neck suffered in a crash at a minor American event in 2013 and shrugging off a serious leg injury to win Australia's premier off-road event, the Finke Desert Race in the Northern Territory, last year for a record fifth time.
The fan-friendly rider, who also has a record five Australian Off-Road Championship crowns, will take his Dakar glory into the six-event Cross-Country Rallies World Championship with the factory KTM team.
Victory in the Dakar will make Price a motorcycle racing celebrity in Europe but, increased commitments allowing, he will to return to Australia to defend his Finke Desert race title on the Queen's Birthday weekend of June 10-13.
Hopefully, he will be hailed as one of the country's all-time sporting heroes, as befits the winner of the world's last great sporting adventure.