“Tough is better for me!”
A good enduro rider in the Czech Republic, Ondrej Klymciw made an impressive Dakar debut back in 2015, finishing in 20th place overall in Buenos Aires and second best rookie. For 2016 he was riding with the Husqvarna team and hoping to improve on that result but on Stage 9 he crashed heavily, breaking both his pelvis while lying in 25th place overall. But the eight months of physiotherapy he needed before being able to get back on the bike hasn't dented his enthusiasm. Keen to see if he was capable of racing the Dakar in 2017, he entered the Serres Rally and finished an encouraging 2nd behind the Slovakian rider and Dakar front runner Stefan Svitko. Then, in October Ondrej followed that up with a 13th place at the Morocco Rally, racing against many of the top riders.
“When something bad happens something good always comes out of it. That's how I faced up to the challenge of getting fit again after my Dakar 2016 crash. It wasn't easy and I would have rather it hadn't happened but there were positives as well as negatives. I trained hard to get back to fitness, spending a lot of time on the mountain bike and then I had my first race on the Serres Rally, which went ok. I knew however that the big challenge would be in Morocco. You can train as much as you want but you never know how it will be until you do a tough, hard race like the Morocco Rally – it puts different stresses on the body that training can't. And I'm pleased to say it went well for me in North Africa. Until then I didn't know if I would be racing in Dakar again so I let my place with the Husqvarna team go. Along with my friend Petr Vlcek we will be still riding Husqvarnas but with our own team, just a truck and 3 or 4 staff. I'm hoping it will be a tough Dakar with lots of navigation, it's better for me and if I can finish in the Top 20, like in 2015, I will be more than satisfied.”