“I loved the whole concept straightaway”
The Dakar is clearly big in the Czech Republic right now, to the point where even their ex-patriots are getting in on the act. Petr Vlcek went to the States for a 6 month break when he was 20 and never went home. He started getting into surfing and snowboarding, got married, had kids and now owns two surf shops in Mont Pleasant area. He has always ridden bikes on the road but about 4 years started riding off-road and in 2013 went along to a ‘Taste of Dakar' event run by ex-Dakar competitor Jimmy Lewis. From there he went on to do the first Baja road book rally and in 2015 and 2016 entered both the Serres Rally and the Merzouga. In 2015 he went to watch compatriot Ondrej Klymic ride up on podium in Buenos Aires and started planning his Dakar campaign.
“The Jimmy Lewis thing was designed to give you a real feeling for what a day on the Dakar might be like and I loved the whole concept straightaway. I started competing in some small rallies and then in 2015 I went to see my friend Ondrej at the end of the Dakar. I couldn't believe it. All the amazing vehicles, the crowds, it was just incredible and that made me even keener to have a go. I'd originally intended to enter the 2016 event but seeing what I saw in South America and riding in more events made me realise I wasn't ready, so I put it back to 2017. I have a few sponsors but I'm financing the bulk of the race myself and I've only got one shot at this. Like many other amateur riders my only ambition is to finish. Obviously I don't want to be coming in really late every night but I'd rather finish in 100th position without taking too many risks than finish in 50th place but push my luck. Ondrej has really taken under his wing and if I do get to the finish it will be in large part thanks to him and all the support and encouragement he's given me.”