2018: FIM Junior Cross-Country Rallies (1st): Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (20th), Qatar Cross-Country Rally (1st), Atacama Rally (13th), Rallye du Maroc (16th)
2017: FIM Junior Cross-Country Rallies (1st): Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (11th), Qatar Cross-Country Rally (10th), Baja Poland (2nd), OiLibya Rally of Morocco (14th)
He may only be 23 years old, but Poland's Maciej Giemza already has a wise head screwed onto his young shoulders. The Orlen Team rider got his first taste of the Dakar last year after winning the FIM Junior Cross-Country Rallies world championship, and did an impressive job by coming home in 24th place. For Maciej, consistency is the key to success in rally raid, and he was able to avoid the mishaps suffered by other riders between Lima and Cordoba by racing intelligently and easing off the gas when necessary. He has continued in the same vein during the 2018 season; avoiding injury, claiming an excellent win in Qatar and successfully defending his Junior Cross-Country Rallies title. Maciej, the first rider from Kielce to take part in the Dakar, started out with enduro at the age of eight before branching out into motocross and cross-country. Mentored by experienced Polish teammates Jacek Czachor and Jakub Przygonski, he has emerged as one of the world's most talented young riders, with an ice-cool temperament to match. Part of a sporting family -his young brother Mikolaj is a squash player- he has also found the time to squeeze law studies into his busy schedule, although you can be sure that his focus will be 100% on the Dakar when January rolls around.
"Honestly, I was a little bit surprised about my position last year. Coming 24th was very good for me, I was satisfied. My Dakar was very clean; I didn't have any navigation problems, crashes or big mistakes. My speed was not 100% because the goal was to reach the finish line. I wanted to keep calm and get to know the rally. I rode the same way from the first stage to the last stage, which is why I finished without any mistakes. I'm pretty happy about the 2018 season, especially the fact that I didn't get injured. If you look at the other riders, almost everybody had some kind of injury. I also picked up a lot more experience, especially in Qatar, where I had to open every stage. It was a very good navigation lesson! "Now it's time for the next Dakar, the next challenge. I know the rally a bit better after last year. Peru was good for me, I enjoy the big dunes and sandy tracks. I've done some sand training this year so I think I will enjoy it, have a lot of fun. I think the navigation is going to be harder than in previous years, but I hope I'm ready for it. I will definitely try to push on some stages if I'm feeling good, but I won't do it if there's too much risk. I will try to stay calm and be safe, stage after stage. Thinking about position is a bad idea. I think this time around I'm a slightly faster rider, and maybe a better rider."
Get exclusive information