“The Dakar virus doesn't let me go”
Maikel Verkade finished his first Dakar in 40th position. In 2017 Verkade returns, this year on a KTM 450 Rally. In march, Verkade won the Tuareg Rally, but crashed in the Serres Rally in August. Injuring his shoulder, which kept him off the bike for about 6 weeks. But Verkade used the last two months of the year to get back in the rhythm again. The Dakar virus is still there, which made Verkade come back to Dakar to try and get his second finish.
‘'I'm still infected with the Dakar virus, so here I am again. It just won't let me go. My first Dakar went well, I finished without major incidents. Except for one hard crash, causing quit some damage to the bike. This year I have a brand new KTM 450 rally, and I'm part of the Bas Dakar Team. My goal remains the same: to make it to the finish. Everybody talks a lot about the route, and what to expect. But in reality it's always completely different. When I ride my own pace, I will be in the position where I belong. For me it makes no sense to push harder or take more risks. My best result of the day in 2016 was a 25th place, in one of the toughest stages of the rally. That's what I like most: a lot of sand and difficult navigation.''