“Every position better than 5th place is utopian”
The Dakar career of Ivan Jakes has been full of highs, great highs but also many lows. The Slovakian rider is plenty talented, often finishing stages in the top ten, with the top speed to match the best riders. But he still has to demonstrate he can be consistent and forget about four retirements from five starts. The 2013 Dakar finally showed that Jakes is more than an occasional front-runner. 61st overall after the opening stage, the 40-year old rider powered his way up the order and was in the top ten heading into the rest day, only to just miss a podium result at Santiago. On his way he scored top ten finishes on six of the final seven stages. He now has to do it again without getting carried away. Jakes knows full well he can aim for the top three. For him, to finish in the top ten would be a victory in itself.
“I have followed the Dakar since the beginning. I was always very interested in the trucks and I was a Karel Loprais fan, who in those days was a real celebrity in Czechoslovakia. My fondest memory of the Dakar is obviously my 4th place last year. The awards ceremony in Santiago was incredible and those years of bad luck were quickly forgotten. My worst Dakar moment came in 2011 when I was seriously injured in a crash. I wanted to keep going, but sadly after 200kms the engine seized up and the Dakar was over for me, two days before the end of the rally. Considering our budgetary constraints, each spot better than 10th is a victory! Every position better than the top five is utopian…I spent the first six months of this year healing from old injuries suffered from previous Dakars. I then was able to focus on my training for the 2014 Dakar.”