“The key will be to keep calm”
Maciej Giemza could well be one of the sensations of Dakar 2018, but the 22-year-old Pole has his feet planted firmly on the ground ahead of his maiden participation in the world's biggest rally. Despite his tender years, the young law student has plenty of experience when it comes to long-distance racing, having started in enduro at just eight years of age. After cutting his teeth in enduro and motocross and representing his national team on numerous occasions, the Polish prodigy enjoyed a breakout cross-country season in 2017, winning the FIM Junior Cross-Country Rallies championship and coming in a remarkable 13th overall against some of the best in the business.
As the first rider from Kielce to participate in the Dakar, Maciej will be carrying a lot of expectations on his young shoulders and he is determined to do his city proud. In gearing up for the rally, he has been able to rely on the invaluable advice of his Orlen teammates and mentors Jacek Czachor and Jakub Przygonski, a hugely experienced duo with over 20 Dakar finishes between them. Part of a sporting fraternity along with younger brother Mikolaj, a squash player, Maciej is also keen to repay his family for their unwavering support by making it to the finish line. Given his precocious talent and ice-cool temperament, he could end up making some serious waves on his maiden Dakar.
“I'm very excited about my first participation in the Dakar. I know that I'm only young but I've been training hard with a very good coach in Poland. In every race this year I've managed to get to the finish line without major problems, which is good news for the Dakar! It's a very long rally, and physically and mentally I'm expecting it to be very tough. The key will be to keep calm and not be too aggressive or fast at the beginning. I speak almost every day with Kuba Przygonski and Jacek Czachor, who are very experienced mentors. It's a great honour to be the first Dakar participant from Kielce but it's also a real challenge. My whole family are very excited, although my mum is a bit nervous about the race! They've constantly supported me over the past decade so I want to be on the finish line and make them proud. My goal is to finish this difficult rally!"