“It is simply my passion”
Some call him an “Old Boy”, but do not be fooled by this nick name. Rafal Sonik is one of the most experienced, tenacious, tough and titled quad riders. He sacrificed seven years to win Dakar Rally in 2015 and when his quad broke down on the 5th stage in 2016, his first thought was: “I'll be back!” It was a long road travelled by the Pole to reach the pinnacle. In 2000, he created ATV Polska, the Polish quad federation of which he is President. Nine years later, he set off on his maiden Dakar, on which he finished 3rd. Never at a loss for ideas, he created the Poland National Team in 2013 to continue his quest for a Polish rider to take the overall win. After four more Top 5 finishers, including podium results in 2013 and 2014, it was Rafal himself that became the first competitor from his country to win overall in 2015. In 2016 his engine stopped in the middle of Bolivian mountains. But it was not the end -it was just the beginning of new lesson. “Super Sonik” followed the Dakar to the very end, just to learn about his opponents and the route. During the 2016 season he won two rallies and finished runner-up in three others on his way to winning his fifth FIM World Championship and FIM Veteran's World Championship. His current objective is to be back on top and take the place among the tenors of the Dakar like Despres, Coma and Peterhansel.
“It took me seven years to win Dakar Rally. I remember that in 2009 other Polish drivers and riders were taking bets how far would I get. No one gave me more than 5 stages but I got to the very end and took the 3rd place. From this time a lot of things happened. I had two injuries that almost ruled me out from racing, I have learnt a lot, gained huge experience and above all, figured out how to win Dakar Rally. This year, in June, I turned 50 and a month later my first son was born. So when I won my sixth World Cup this year a lot of people asked me: “Why you are doing this again?” My reply is simple: “It's my passion”. In the world of internet and new technologies, there are no “white spots” on the map, Dakar is one of the last real challenges. It is adventure for those who are looking for the ultimate test. I've been working with same people for the last nine years and we all have the same goal. Our priority is to achieve it! Not to give everything what we have, but to give everything that is necessary. To reach beyond horizon and chase another victory. For us, for our families and friends.”